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ZBF elections: Full of excitement, confusion, intimidation

TENDAI Phiri (Left) unleashes a punch on Patrick Banda’s face during the Agricultural and Commercial Show boxing tournament flyweight bout in Lusaka yesterday. PICTURE: BRIAN MALAMA

THE Zambia Boxing Federation (ZBF) finally held elections in Kabwe last Saturday after years of bickering.
Even if councillors did not elect a president, there is hope that the coming in of the new executive could put the sport back on the development path.
Kennedy Mubita, who was elected vice-president, will take charge of ZBF in the interim until elections for the presidency are held in three months’ time.
The elections were marred with ugly scenes caused mainly by some drunk delegates.
The federation has been embroiled in wrangles for several years and in the process the standard of amateur boxing dropped to unacceptable levels.
The most notable highlight of the process was the disqualification of former ZBF president Thomas Chileshe and challenger Mubita from the race for failing to meet constitutional requirements.
Chileshe has been a keen adherent of the ZBF constitution, but this time around the same book caught up with him and had him disqualified on account of not being backed by at least 10 clubs as stipulated in Chapter 16.3 of the constitution.
Mubita, on the other hand, fell off because National Sports Council of Zambia (NSCZ) board member Smart Mwitwa and Ministry of Youth and Sport chief sports development officer Gibson Muyaule ruled that only nominations that were filed before the court injunction in March last year were valid.
This meant Mubita could only defend his position as vice president.
In this case Mbewe, who wanted to go for the vice-presidency, was told to run for the presidency which he had filed for but was disqualified during scrutinisation as he had not served in boxing administration for four years.
Mwitwa and Muyaule thought it was important that ZBF elect a president and suggested to Chileshe and Mbewe to ask councillors if the two candidates could go ahead and contest elections despite the flaws in their nominations, but the former ZBF boss was against this idea.
It seemed Chileshe was not ready for elections and was determined to go through unopposed.
Probably this explained why most Copperbelt clubs where Chileshe seemed to enjoy support did not come prepared for elections.
One of the ground rules that was agreed upon by the Ministry of Youth and Sport, NSCZ and ZBF weeks before elections was that all the clubs that would participate in the polls should produce receipts to prove they had paid affiliation fees but no club from the Copperbelt had this proof.
Consequently, they did not participate in voting thereby handing a huge advantage to the Midlands Amateur Boxing Association (MABA) candidates.
All the teams from Midlands and a few from Southern Province produced proof of payment.
Chileshe still had a good number of followers and could have done fairly well in elections but he did not campaign as his focus was on going through unchallenged.
It looked like Chileshe would still retain the position on technicalities but he had overlooked other provisions of the constitution which many members still claim was made to suit him.
Mubita was retained as vice-president while Bright Chomba bounced back as general secretary after beating incumbent Ceaser Musuku.
Blackie Mantele got the position of vice general secretary with Philemon Musonda coming in as treasurer.
Chileshe and Musuku were not in attendance during elections as they stormed out after failing to agree on the ground rules with NSCZ and Ministry of Sport officials.
The saddest moment was when some delegates roughed up ZBF chairman for elections Kennedy Mvula who they perceived to be backing Chileshe.
The action could be deemed as intimidation and was not necessary going by the majority support that Mubita and company enjoyed.
With elections now over, the new ZBF executive has a huge task of reorganising the sport.
Mubita, who will be acting as president, will need to create an open- door policy before making decisions to avoid a repeat of what was happening in the previous administration.

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