Sikhumbuzo Moyo in Bulawayo
A BULAWAYO-based soldier appeared in court yesterday for allegedly threatening ZIFA vice-president Omega Sibanda with unspecified action if he does not lift the suspensions of some of the association’s employees and football personalities.
According to court papers, Sergeant Blessing Mbwando of 06 HQ Flats, Induna Barracks, Bulawayo, whose age was not given in court, introduced himself to Sibanda as Major Prosper Guvheya before insulting the Bulawayo businessman by calling him a dog and later claiming that Sibanda had joined national politics.
Mbwando appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Franklin Mkwananzi charged with two counts under the Post and Telecommunications Act (Use of Abusive Language over a Telephone) and Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act (Impersonation). He pleaded not guilty. Prosecutor Nkathazo Dlodlo said on November 18, 2017, at around 11.24pm, Mbwando insulted and threatened Sibanda in a call he made on his cellphone.
Court papers report him saying: “Iwe imbwa iwe, kana usina kudzosera vanhu vakamiswa basa uyezve iwe wava kuita zvematongerwe enyika, kana ukarega chete, uchaona zvandichakuita nenguva pfupi iri kutevera ndinondzi Major Prosper Guvheya (you dog, if you fail to reinstate people you suspended, you shall see what I will do to you within a short period of time. I’m Major Prosper Guvheya).”
“On the second count, but on the same date and at Brady Barracks, Bulawayo, Mbwando, knowing that he is a Sergeant in the Zimbabwe National Army, introduced himself as a Major to Sibanda, knowing or realising that there was a risk or possibility that Sibanda might act upon that impersonation,” said Dlodlo.
A report was made and investigations were done leading to Mbwando’s arrest. Mbwando was remanded out of custody to next week Monday for trial. Last month, Sibanda addressed a media briefing and dismissed reports circulating on social media alleging that he had engaged in corrupt practices at ZIFA. The social media report was entitled:
“Findings of political, corruption and maladministration activities in respect of Mr Omega Sibanda”, saying he had opened a police case against its authors. Part of that document Sibanda was referring to claims that he was eyeing the Vungu parliamentary seat in the 2018 elections under a “Zanu-PF (G40) ticket”.
The author of the document claimed Sibanda paid Elkanah Dube $5 000 to stop him from contesting the ZIFA vice-presidency in the 2015 elections. Dube has also publicly denied being bribed to step aside from the election.
Allegations of misuse of a government grant of $1,2 million given to the national team for the Africa Cup of Nations were also levelled against Sibanda, with the author claiming the ZIFA vice-president took $48 000, while coaches and players got “peanuts”.
The document also accused Sibanda of being involved in underhand dealings, such as remaining a players’ and coaches’ agent. “As VP of the association, he is not allowed to be an agent of any player or coach, as it will complicate and distort transparency as victimisation will come into play. Teams have suffered because they will be afraid that they will be suspended if they don’t abide by his intentions,” read part of the document.
The author also accuses Sibanda of running the show at ZIFA, claiming “he has been banning and lifting the bans at his own discretion”.
“Generally Mr Omega is not a good administrator, he has dictator-like leadership qualities and is very corrupt. He should leave football and concentrate on politics,” said the author.
The writer of the document also said Sibanda must resign and that fired ZIFA employees should be reinstated, and an audit of ZIFA finances conducted. ZIFA have, however, been producing audited accounts in the last two years that the current leadership has been in office.
The author also demanded that the suspensions of Highlanders’ chairman Peter Dube, former Bulawayo City assistant coach Farai Mujokoro and former City kit manager Gift Mvalo should also be lifted. But with the matter now before the courts, it should also come as a stern warning to a host of individuals who have been abusing social media platforms to denigrate the ZIFA administration, coaches and players using pseudo names.