Caps United board chairperson, Lewis Uriri has hit back at Zifa president, Philip Chiyangwa following his suspension from football activities by the mother body, which he described as null and void. BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
Uriri on Sunday launched a scathing attack on the organisation and Chiyangwa in his response to acting Zifa chief executive officer, Joseph Mamutse following the suspension.
Uriri savaged Chiyangwa, while also labelling Zifa “a demonic administration” and “a fascist regime” that had taken the game into “near abyss”.
“The decision you have communicated is illegitimate and immediately null and void without further ado. It is not a result of the legitimate exercise of administrative authority,” Uriri’s letter read. “It is, on the contrary, the culmination of a vindictive agenda, which has as its purpose the annihilation of the PSL and what it stands for. It is a furtherance of the entrenchment of a regime devoid of vision and strategy to emancipate Zimbabwe football from its present chains. This misdirected strategy of self-preservation abhors independent thinkers. It abhors intelligence. It has been used to hold Zifa institutions captive to the whims of a cartel, whose self-serving interests are inimical to the interests of football. You will agree with me that it is this kind of misdirection that has taken Zimbabwe football from the pit it was in on July 25, 2015, and tossed it into a near abyss.”
Uriri said the decision, which Zifa purports to be that of the executive committee was actually Chiyangwa’s. He said he will not contest for any post at the next congress, but would fight to the bitter end to bring Zifa back to its status before Chiyangwa was elected into office.
“You know, as well as I do, that the decision you purport to be one of the executive committee of Zifa is, in fact, one made exclusively by Chiyangwa. He attempted to call me on Friday afternoon. He then sent me an email. He, thereafter, called my president at Caps United on Friday and expressed the view that I was ‘fighting’ him and threatened to suspend me and/or Caps United. He once again called my president this afternoon (on Sunday) to state that he had intelligence to the effect that I was the brains behind the PSL initiative and he would suspend me to illustrate that he occupies a superior seat in football.
“Naturally, I will not submit to the illegitimate kangaroo processes of an administration, whose sole agenda is self-preservation at the expense of the national game. I will not be attending the next congress. Critically, I am aware of the rules of engagement: When one stops adhering to the rules common to the civilised world, one becomes a terrorist; and conventional civilised armies do not negotiate with terrorists!
“In short, I refuse to bow to the illegitimate dictates of a demonic administration. Doing so is like trying to appease an evil spirit. The more one does so, the more the foul spirit demands one’s soul, body and spirit. I refuse to sell my soul and integrity. Henceforth, and within the confines of the law, I will fight fire with fire, and thunder with thunder. Diplomacy has not worked, and as (19th century German statesman Otto von) Bismarck would say, great matters of the day will now have to be resolved by ‘blood and iron’ within the confines of the law. The battle lines are drawn.
“Ultimately, history is a fair judge and will vindicate those of us that have refused to stand by and watch the demise of the national game at the hands of a fascist administration, whose energies are misdirected at killing the game it ought to be promoting. There are still many others in congress who stand for what is right and just.
“They will for the time being continue the fight for the return of Zifa to its status prior to December 5, 2015, when at least there was room for independent thought, expression and independent decision-making.”
Uriri also claimed that there were no functional structures at Zifa and suggested that offices were being created for people who voted for Chiyangwa. He described Chiyangwa’s administration as a group of power-hungry individuals.
The Harare lawyer was suspended for allegedly having “breached provisions of Article 13 (a) and 31 (i) of the Zifa constitution by convening an unsanctioned meeting of Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs on October 29”.
At the meeting, Uriri is accused of inciting club representatives to defy a decision on promotion and relegation passed by the Zifa Congress.
Uriri’s suspension comes hard on the heels of the banning of Highlanders chief executive officer, Ndumiso Gumede, as well as the suspension of PSL chairperson Peter Dube.