Something fishy is going on at the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA). Football administrators who want to contest the Zifa elections will have to part with large sums of money in order to file their nomination papers.
Those wishing to contest the Zifa presidency will have to fork out US$7 500, while those aspiring for a post in PSL management committee have to pay US$3 000.
On Friday evening, Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze announced these revised figures, ahead of the March 26 election.
The football governing body had earlier pegged the Zifa presidency nomination fee at US$10 000 and PSL management fee at US$5 000, prompting the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) to intervene.
SRC director general Charles Nhemachena advised Zifa to downwardly review their fees structure, rightly pointing out they were prohibitive, unfair, excessive and discriminatory.
Zifa did not see much sense in this advice and merely reduced the figures, leaving them still beyond the reach of many football administrators.
Why anyone would come up with such figures in a poor country like Zimbabwe boggles the mind. In neighbouring South Africa, contestants do not pay any fees for the Safa elections.
Zifa's argument for coming up with these fees is that elections must be self-funding.
Clearly, there is no merit in this argument. We discern an attempt by Zifa to try to block other people from challenging incumbent president Cuthbert Dube and the other office-bearers through these restrictive measures.
While Dube, who is seeking re-election, can afford to pay US$7 500, there will be very few, if any among his challengers, who can raise that amount.
The same body last year, unsuccessfully tried to "smuggle" a clause in the constitution that prohibited anyone who had not served the Zifa board for five years as well as being a member of the current board from contesting the presidency. These are the same people who came up with these prohibitive fees.
We urge Zifa to scrap the requirement, otherwise an election held under these conditions will be a charade.