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Naaz underfire over elections

Elections for the new National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe (Naaz) executive committee that had been scheduled for this year are in doubt.
REPORT BY MICHAEL MADYIRA

According to the association’s constitution which Standardsport is in possession of, Naaz elections should be held every Olympics year at an elective annual general meeting (AGM) anytime between July and October and should be called for 21 days before the day of the vote.

But with only 10 days left before the month folds, provincial elections which precede the national plebiscite should have already taken place.

Some provinces are being run by interim boards, with some having been at the helm for the past three years.

According to Article 14 of the association’s constitution, “The Annual General Meeting of ‘The Association’ shall be held each year between the 1st of July and 31st of October at a time and place to be fixed by the Executive Committee unless circumstances dictate a change of date for such meeting, which change shall be at the discretion of the Executive, Twenty-one (21) days notice in writing of such meeting shall be given to each Affiliated Board and to all members of the Executive.”

Naaz president Joseph Mungwari said their busy schedule did not permit them to hold any elections now and would only be flexible in December.

“Yes we have not yet set dates for the elections but we are looking at holding them in December. We still have some pressing programmes on our calendar so we have to finish them before we hold elections,” said Mungwari.

However, as spelled by the constitution, elections should be held with the full blessings of the executive. While Mungwari insists the vote would take place in December, some executive members professed ignorance of the development.

“Right now we do not know when elections would be held because we have not yet planned anything. Talk to him (Mungwari) again, maybe he knows better,” said an executive member who declined to be named.

A provincial chairman who also spoke on condition of anonymity concurred, saying they were in the dark of as to when elections would be held.

Another provincial head said the uncertainty over the elections was now affecting their planning for next year.

“Right now we cannot plan for next year. This is the time of the year where we need to approach the corporate world asking for sponsorship before companies finish drafting their budgets for next year. But both national and provincial executives will begin 2013 with their financial books in shambles,” he said.

This uncertainty over the polls has heightened speculation that there could be an underground campaign to retain the current executive. Mungwari, who has been at the helm of Naaz for over a decade would not say whether or not he was ready to step down.

“For me to stand, it depends on what the provinces who form the electorate say. If they nominate me to contest then I will stand,” said Mungwari.

Athletics standards in Zimbabwe have over the years drastically deteriorated, with the rot being glaringly exposed at this year’s Olympics where for the first time ever, Zimbabwe had no track and field athletes.

The country only managed to sent three marathoners, in another record of the lowest ever representation in athletics.

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