By FRANCINA CHOMBA –
ZAMBIA Amateur Athletics Association (ZAAA) presidential aspirants, Samuel Matete and Jonathan Chipalo have appealed to the Sports Council of Zambia (SCZ) to overturn the invalidation of their nominations for the elective annual general meeting (AGM) next weekend.
The duo have vowed to pursue their dreams of contesting the ZAAA elections despite having their nominations rejected by the executive, leaving Elias Mpondela unopposed for the top post ahead of the December 27 indaba.
Matete, whose nomination was declared invalid on grounds that it was written on an unofficial form and signed by an unauthorised Nkana Athletics Club official when it had already backed Mpondela, said in interview yesterday that he would not give up on challenging Mpondela for the presidency.
He said the Mpondela-led executive committee had no mandate to disqualify any aspirants because its term of office expired on December 2, 2014.
The former 400m hurdles champion said the reason advanced by ZAAA general secretary Phil Kuombela was baseless.
He said allegations that a unauthorised official endorsed him on a purported unofficial nomination form were aimed at eliminating him from the race as he was a strong contender.
“I was nominated by my club and it is not possible that all area boards can nominate Mpondela because he does not belong to any of the clubs. Mpondela has failed to produce financial reports for last year and worse still, he has no powers to continue governing because his term had elapsed, so he’s holding that office illegally,” Matete said.
Speaking in a separate interview, Chipalo said he was shocked to learn that his candidature had been rejected despite following procedure.
Chipalo said his club, Higher Ground, that nominated him was an affiliate of the Lusaka Province Athletics Area Board (LPAAB) as it had paid affiliation fees since August 13, 2013.
“We will not listen to what they are saying because we need to correct what is illegal. The current leadership is applying unconstitutional and undemocratic means to get rid of strong opponents ahead of the elections, this anomaly needs to be corrected,” Chipalo said.
Others whose nomination was declared invalid are Christopher Manda and Judith Chaongopa, who are interested in the presidency, and for Carol Mokola, who is vying the vice presidency.