Game ON! with BENEDICT TEMBO
IN THE spirit of reconciliation, the Josab Changa group which had petitioned the Alfred Foloko-led National Olympic Committee of Zambia (NOCZ) executive accepted an out of court arbitration.Changa’s group was aggrieved by the manner in which the NOCZ elections were conducted and filed an injunction to restrain the Foloko executive from operating until the election dispute was resolved.
The NOCZ elections were held on December 17, 2017.
The Changa group contested the alleged illegal voting by Patrick Chamunda, an honourary member of the International Olympic Committee and NOCZ, as well as the casting of ballots by karate and softball associations, which are not voting Olympic members.
Besides, a karate federation does not exist in Zambia.
Armed with those grounds, which bordered on electoral fraud, Changa, from the Zambia Handball Association, Elias Mpondela (Zambia Amateur Athletics Association), Gabriel Muyinda (Zambia Volleyball Association), and Charles Chenda (tennis), who had contested the elections, went to court.
However, the two parties, which were represented by Tutwa Ngulube and Company and Milner and Paul Legal Practitioners, agreed amicably to settle the matter [2017/HP/2212] out of court in line with NOCZ statutes.
But the NOCZ has seemingly failed to provide leadership on the matter seven months down the line.
The NOCZ has allegedly not bothered to respond to any mail from the aggrieved party.
This has set a bad precedent because the NOCZ seems to suggest that the aggrieved party has no ability to pursue the matter further.
As things stand, Changa’s group may pursue the option of taking the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Apart from being quiet, the seemingly outrageous demand of K250,000 by the NOCZ lawyers from Changa’s group may delay the arbitration.
“The matter hasn’t yet been resolved as the NOCZ board elect is very stubborn and they want to frustrate the process by demanding unreasonable costs which they are not even entitled to. They asked us to withdraw the matter in order to pursue the arbitration process and all of a sudden, they now want money from the aggrieved parties,” Changa said.
The absence of a National Sports Council of Zambia (NSCZ) board may have contributed to the delay in getting the arbitration process going.
Had the board been in place, it could have played a key role in getting the two factions to dialogue and come up with a mutually agreed settlement.
The Ministry of Sports, which unilaterally dissolved the NSCZ board, has not made any effort to meet the two factions.
But Foloko, who is on a Southern African Development Community mission to Lesotho, has assured the matter will be resolved when he returns.
Foloko’s team should get the ball rolling by implementing what they promised to do when they campaigned to be elected.
Foloko pledged to work for the good and success of the organization, which also meant being inclusive of winners and losers of the closely contested race.
Surely, he needs all the brains and resources in order to have good measure of his tenure.
The public expects medals whenever there is an outing, be it the All African, Commonwealth or Olympic games, and anything less draws sharp reactions.
The NOCZ technical committee should, therefore, demand from various national sports bodies what they have on paper in terms of action plans for the next games.
We should not have an official from the Ministry of Sports, two weeks to go, urging proper preparations.
The time is now to get the ball rolling.
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Game ON! with BENEDICT TEMBO