Zimbabwe: SRC, ZC On Warpath

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) is headed on a collision course with the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) after the local cricket governing body went ahead with their elective annual general meeting in Victoria Falls on Friday in defiance of a directive by the country's supreme sports regulatory body to suspend the polls.

The new SRC board on Thursday ordered ZC to suspend the polls over electoral irregularities, constitutional violations and alleged maladministration.

Additionally, the new board announced that that it would appoint a new independent forensic audit firm to look into the financial activities of ZC amid allegations of misappropriation of funds.

However, the local cricket governing body defied the order from the country's supreme sports governing body after going ahead with the polls, which saw Tavengwa Mukuhlani being re-elected for a second term unopposed as board chairperson.

Sylvester Matshaka was also re-tained as vice-chairman, while Edward Rainsford, Maureen Kuchocha, Lincoln Bhila and Lloyd Mhishi are the other board members.

Seven provincial chairmen from the 10 provincial cricket associations were also elected onto the new ZC board.

The new board's tenure could, however, be shortlived as sources told Standardsport that the Sports Commission would move to suspend the entire ZC board including the provincial boards.

This follows allegations that the nomination process in the lead-up to the elections had been marred by alleged vote-buying and other irregularities.

There was, however, no official comment from the SRC as its director-general, Prince Mupazviriho, and board chairman Gerald Mlotshwa on its next course of action following the move by ZC.

ZC is, however, expected to put up a fight after Mukuhlani, who is Zanu PF's Member of Parliament for Mhondoro-Ngezi, was quoted in leaked WhatsApp messages stating that "government has no business in cricket."

Standardsport could, however, not verify the authenticity of the leaked messages while efforts to get a comment from the ZC boss were also fruitless.

Friday's controversial elections were held after ZC conducted polls for 10 provincial associations, which were concluded last week.

SRC, however, raised the red flag on the manner in which the elections were conducted in the provincial structures and ZC's alleged failure to respect a court order from the Mashonaland Central Magistrate Court nullifying that province's elections.

"The Sports and Recreation Commission has received complaints regarding the nomination process in Mashonaland Central and Harare provinces," read SRC director-general Mupazviriho's correspondence directed to the ZC acting MD, Givemore Makoni, and copied to the International Cricket Council.

"Violations of Zimbabwe Cricket's own constitution and in particular Section 32 to 36, thereof, have been alleged. SRC is also in possession of a court application filed by Mr Z Damiso against Mr W Chaitezvi and the chairman of Zimbabwe Cricket as well as yourself."

The Sports Commission also indicated that it had stopped Friday's elections due to pending issues related to the forensic audit that was commissioned by the government in 2018 with a new firm set to be appointed to institute an urgent forensic audit.

"You will also be aware of the forensic audit report commissioned by the SRC to:

"1. Conduct objective and independent investigations of all matters brought to its attention involving financial misconduct, irregularities of a financial nature and the commission of economic offences.

2. Determine the total revenue and examine the authenticity of all the expenditure incurred for the respective years of 2015, 2016 and 2017.

3. Ascertain receivables and/or payables related to the years in question for Zimbabwe Cricket.

4. Assess allegations of theft, fraud and corruption.

"In light of these and numerous other controversies relating to Zimbabwe Cricket and its financial and governance structures, the SRC, as resolved by the Board, hereby, directs that all or any electoral processes, including any electoral AGM for a new board of directors, forthwith be suspended until further notice," SRC said.

"This directive is issued in terms of Section 19 (a) and (b) of the SRC Act, as read with Section 20 (c) thereof. Your attention is drawn to Section 30 of the same Act in the event that any attempt is made to disregard this directive," wrote SRC director-general Mupazviriho.

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