“Corrupt” Kalusha Launches Campaign as FAZ Life President

Fussball International FIFA Task Force Football 2014FAZ president Kalusha Bwalya, the man who was recently in the media for bribe allegations, has launched a campaign to be to lead the body for life.

Kalusha received bribes amounting to US$ 80, 000 from disgraced Qatar official Mohammed Bin Hammam. He confessed receiving the bribe but claimed it was a debt for the association.

However, Kalusha has failed to prove he borrowed on behalf of the association and in order in insulate himself from future he has launched a campaign to stay in charge of football for life.

The campaign is spearheaded by a conman from Ndola known as Pivoty Simwanza. Simwanza is a member of Kalusha’s executive committee.


It’s still two years until the next FAZ elections but the campaign appears to have been rolled out already by those who purport to have a greater appreciation of Kalusha Bwalya’s achievements for Zambian football than the rest of us.

In Ndola, the district football coaches association last week came out with the very novel idea of giving the Great One the presidency for the next 20 years. Were the idea to be implemented by changing the appropriate constitutional clauses, it would effectively make Kalusha, now aged 51, football’s first Life President.

And as much as many of us independent observers are happy to pooh-pooh this idea, there are apparently some who are equally happy to give it some currency. A day after the announcement, FAZ executive committee member Pivoty Simwanza weighed in by endorsing the campaign.

Kalusha, the campaigners argue, has done more for Zambia football than any other person who has ever held that post in the last 50 years. And that record? A grand total of one Africa Cup title and one appearance at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup finals.

The Egyptians, Camerounians, Ghanians and Nigerians should be burned at the stake for their ingratitude at the men who led them to multiple Africa Cup titles and World Cup appearances but who never got more than a pat on the back for their labours.

The FAZ has one African title in half a century and Kalusha’s supporters are campaigning for the man to be given the job for life? You don’t know whether to laugh or cry. It all sounds like that it’s coming from that isolated state where the Great Leader can do no wrong, and is more infallible than the Pope.

I should like to believe the man himself would be cringing with embarrassment, and one hopes he will be doing his part behind the scenes to stop these calls becoming a full-blown charade and making him and all of us the laughing stock of world football.

Cameroun, Ghana and Nigeria have done well enough in that area with their money wrangles and assaults on each other on and off the field at the on-going World Cup finals in Brazil.

The sad thing, though, is that those behind this campaign are probably the more enlightened of what represents today’s FAZ councillor, of the men and women to comprise the ruling body of Zambian football.

It’s unimaginable that any of the men (yes, the FAZ council was once entirely a boys’club) who sat in the FAZ council between the 1960s and early ’90s would have summoned the courage to expose himself to ridicule by such conduct as calling for the chairman of the association to be allowed to hold office for even two terms without being subjected to an election.

Until the mid-90s, the typical councillor was a senior official in the corporate world, employed by the company that sponsored the club. Mostly the sponsor was a company falling under one of the giant state conglomerates such as ZCCM, Indeco or Zimco. He represented the views of the sponsor.

Most importantly, the company paid his expenses when he travelled for FAZ meetings.

When the conglomerates were sold or disbanded in the economic reforms that came with a change in government and political dispensation from one-party rule to multi-partysm in 1990, the character of the average councillor evolved into a type of football cadre.

Today’s councilor is more likely the head of a self-sponsored club. How he votes or what argument he supports in any discourse at the FAZ council is influenced in a big way by his personal relationship with those in power.
Intelligent debate and analysis seldom gets a chance.

Witness what short shrift was dispensed to the councillor who dared to question whether it was good governance for the FAZ to retain the same auditor for over 20 years. (Are you listening Anna Chifungula and ball-juggler Kambwilinho? The same auditor for more than two decades!)

Instead of being applauded, he was jeered and shouted down and when he insisted on being heard, several pairs of hands attached to rather beefy bodies helped him to the door, his feet barely touching the floor.

One holds the hope that this ‘Kalu for Life’ campaign by Pivoty and others will be seen by other councillors for what it is, the nonsensical mutterings of over-enthusiastic supporters. Trouble is, no one can be sure this is not the start of a well-orchestrated campaign for those who fear the good times they now enjoy from being connected to the powers that be could come to an end with a new regime in 2016.

Pivoty, for his part, really ought to be last of Kalusha’s supporters to be championing this cause. It wasn’t very long ago that he quit the association, accusing the man of lacking transparency in a number of matters.

As far as one remembers, Pivoty has never reported that any of the issues that prompted his departure and that of Emmanuel Munaile, Hernschel Chitembeya and Violet Bwalya from the FAZ executive committee were resolved to his satisfaction before going back. It would be interesting to hear what Kalusha really thinks of him. I think he comes across as just a little bit unctuous.

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