Zambia Reports (Lusaka)

17 February 2013

Zambia: Sports Minister Accused of Incompetence

Ben Saili, the estranged Secretary of the Zambia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (ZPBWCB) who resigned his position last week has charged that Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili is an "incompetent, dull and corrupt" man who does not understand the laws of Zambia.

Saili's comments come after Chishimba Kambwili usurped the decision of the ZPBWCB to nullify Exodus Boxing Stables proprietor Anthony Mwamba's three month suspension from boxing activities for unprofessional conduct.

Saili said in an interview in Lusaka that Chishimba Kamwbili must realize that the ZPBWCB was established by an Act of Parliament and no one had the powers to interfere in its activities.

"I wonder how Chishimba Kambwili has managed to be a minister up to now. He clearly does not understand the Laws of Zambia. He is dull, incompetent and corrupt because the way he overturned our decision to suspend Mwamba clearly points to these factors. The ZPBWCB is not like the sports Council of Zambia which also deals with amateur sports. Ours was enacted by Parliament and as an MP and minister he must know that," he said.

On Thursday 14th February 2013 Saili tendered in his resignation as Board Secretary ZPBWCB saying his decision was necessitated by the lack of professional leadership exhibited by Chishimba Kambwili and the Director of Sport, Bernard Nakachinda.

"You may be aware that I have been engaged in an exchange of media statements with a trainer and promoter, Anthony Mwamba. You will further recall that after a Board meeting of the ZPBWCB it was resolved to suspend Mwamba for a period of ninety days. What has transpired thereafter is not only shocking but extremely disappointing that the Minister of Sport Chishimba Kambwili has reinstated Mwamba's licenses without taking into consideration the provisions of Chapter 156 of the Laws of Zambia," he said.

Saili said Mwamba's charges were grave and the ninety days punishment was done to merely sound a warning to him realizing that he was a major participant in the game. He said Mwamba should have been suspended for six months.

He said Mwamba was being favoured by Chishimba Kamwbili for a long time and this had caused Mwamba to become big headed.

"When I was appointed as Board Secretary I accepted the position on the understanding that I would be allowed to execute my functions professionally and in accordance with the Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Act, Cap 156 of the laws of Zambia. Above all, my responsibility is to the people of Zambia and the Government which I represent," he said.

Whilst the Act provides for the Minister to lift the suspension of anyone it does not provide for the Minister to abrogate the law, Saili said.

Saili said President Michael Sata has declared that he would operate a corruption-free government but Chishimba Kambwili was doing the contrary.

"As a patriotic, law abiding citizen of Zambia, this position has become untenable because my superior officers has been unprofessional in the execution of his duties. The Minister and the Director of Sport has exhibited levels of unprofessional conduct not befitting their positions," he said.

Saili said he agreed with President Sata's assertions that the lack of professionalism in the public service was destroying Zambia and this had been exposed by Chishimba Kambwili.

Saili said Chishimba Kambwili's illegal interference in boxing activities was destroying the game. He said Kambwili was hero worshiping Anthony Mwamba even when it was evident that Mwamba was unprofessional and illegal boxing activities.

"In 2009, when Mr Anthony Mwamba took Goodwin Mutampuka to Scotland to fight Willie Lamond for the World Boxing Union Lightweight title with falsified Medicals. I championed a crusade to investigate the matter. Our diplomats in the United Kingdom followed this matter keenly to probe what happened but as usual, the matter has been swept under the carpet, but it has left a stain on the credibility of our medicals," he said.

Saili claimed that medicals have been at the centre stage of wrongdoing in professional boxing in Zambia, which also led to the death of local boxer Felix Bwalya.

I had the unfortunate responsibility to end the career of one of Zambia's most promising boxers of our time, Kennedy Kanyanta because I did not want to be tainted with wrong doing. Kennedy was identified by the World Boxing Council (WBC) as a finalist in a special format of champions but I followed the rules and asked him to retire," he said.

He said the Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Act Cap 156 of the Laws of Zambia priotised the safety of boxers but some boxers were being allowed to continue fighting even when they were not medically fit.

Mr Mwamba has been perceived to be the hero of Zambian boxing when he in fact has been destroying it by continuing to operate outside the parameters of the Boxing Act, which gave the mandate to regulate and monitor the sport of professional boxing.

"Mr Mwamba has flouted the regulations with impunity and has been defended by Chishimba Kambwili and the Director of Sport who is a known associate of Mwamba," he said.

Saili also alleged that Esther Phiri, the celebrated Zambian female boxer and her trainer Anthony Mwamba were evading tax.

"I am challenging Esther Phiri and Anthony Mwamba to tell the Zambian people the truth behind Esther's so called retirement. I would like to challenge the management of the Zambia Revenue Authority ZRA) to provide documentary evidence to show the people of Zambia how much tax

Esther Phiri and Anthony Mwamba have paid from the large sums of money that they have earned from boxing," he said.

But Anthony Mwamba dismissed all the allegations leveled against him saying Ben Saili was bitter man who was burning envy at his achievements in promoting boxing.

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