22 September 2012

Zambia: Leave Kalenga Alone


THIS week's column is a continuation from last week where I was discussing the incessant problems in the Zambia Amateur Boxing

Federation (ZABF). Just to take you slightly back I wrote last week that I thought the troubled relationship between ZABF and its affiliate the Midlands Amateur Boxing Association (MABA) was over when, from nowhere, it emerged the other week that these problems have now been placed at the door steps of veteran sports administrator, Mwamba Kalenga.

According to some sources, Kalenga was harbouring a grudge against MABA officials and using his position to get even with them for working against him years ago when he vied for, but lost, the ZABF presidency to late Charm Chiteule.

I conducted my own investigations into the allegations against Kalenga, an advocate of good governance and long time sports administrator. My investigations brought out a few naked facts which his accusers will do well to reflect upon.

True, Kalenga called and chaired the meeting with the dissolved MABA executive on the material date, but contrary to the claims, the issue of reconciliation was not part of the agenda. My investigations revealed that, in fact, the aim of the meeting was to enforce the ban on the three officials who have been acting as though they still held positions when in fact not.

Furthermore, the ban was slapped by ZABF and the NSCZ merely endorsed the decision and issues of reconciliation, strictly speaking, should be between MABA and the ZABF. NSCZ was surprised by calls of reconciliation at this stage when six months had been wasted on squabbling between ZABF and MABA.

My probe led me to a copy of the sixth-item agenda for that meeting and reconciliation was certainly not one of them. The only agenda item which collaborates with Kalenga's accusers and my findings was the issue of the 86th Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show, which was not discussed and deferred to another date due to a time constraint.

On alleged threats against MABA officials, my investigations revealed that these were put deliberately out of context and that Kalenga had been advising his accusers that they should respect the decisions of the SCZ board, which represented the minister of sport on one hand, and the entire government, on the other.

On lifting the ban, which Kalenga rejected, the truth of the matter is that, it was premature to do so, but more importantly, the affected officials can only appeal to the SCZ at the next annual general meeting in 2013. Equally important, the meeting Kalenga chaired last week was, therefore, fundamentally a wrong forum to raise the matter, my investigations revealed.

Allegations of Kalenga harbouring a grudge against MABA officials and using his position to get even with them for working against him years ago when he vied for the ZABF for presidency, but lost to late Charm

Chiteule were not true because the accused did not stand and did not even travel to Kabwe for the elective annual general meeting that year.

My investigations suggest clearly that Kalenga is not part of the problem and the allegations leveled against him appear not only baseless but they are personal and unfortunate. The sooner his accusers took a second, long, hard look at the matter, better for the sport.

It appears, too, that there is urgent need for those aggrieved to try to understand Kalenga's role, that of the minister of sport and government in general.

The apparent antagonism of Kalenga, who is just a board member of, and not the NSCZ itself, is misdirected and the sooner all his detractors realised and accepted this the better.

Calls for his removal appear to be personal, but Kalenga was appointed by the minister; he did not appoint himself. He is only a part of the NSCZ board and as such, he makes collective, and not, individual decisions. I commend the minister of sport for appointing Kalenga to address the problems between ZABF and MABA.

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