Mulenga, who claims the City bragging rights having lived in Woodlands and surrounding areas the last 40 years, says Forli Limited are the legal owners of City of Lusaka as established by salutatory institutions in the country.
The writer says Forli Limited has developed Woodlands Stadium, the home of City, better than any entitled single or combined that has claimed to be representing the community the 50 years.
Mulenga says progressive thinkers should support the work Casilli has delivered at Woodlands stadium because it has added to changing the face of Lusaka particularly Woodlands and the surrounding areas.
READ THE FULL WRITE UP
BY BRIAN MULENGA
CITY OF LUSAKA WRANGLES – WHICH COMMUNITY DO THEY HELP?
In view of the weird, crazy and rather stupid goings on at City of Lusaka Club as a long-time resident on and off in the neighbourhoods of Kabulonga, Woodlands, Chilenje and Nyumba Yanga for the last 45 years, I feel compelled to comment on them.
I first lived in the community which City of Lusaka is purported to serve 45 years ago. I started school at Little Big Horn Pre-school in Middleway Kabulonga in 1972. This was just after we moved to 7 Twin Palm Road in Kabulonga from Chelston. We later moved to 8 Mutende Road in Woodlands and our last residence in Lusaka before we moved to the Copperbelt was 4 Ingwe Road. The last two addresses are in Woodlands and are within walking distance from Woodlands Stadium.
I moved back into the same community served by City of Lusaka in 1993 when I lived in Chilenje South opposite Lazymen’s Complex. This is when I met one Kennedy Ma Grocer a diehard City of Lusaka fan. Kennedy’s name is derived from the fact he was always found at the grocery shops at Lazymen’s complex. Since then I have lived 18 out of the last 25 years in the Woodlands area and in Chalala. In short, I am a member of the Community that is supposedly represented by one of the two competing City of Lusaka executives.
Let us go back in history. Woodlands Stadium was a whites-only sports club with a cricket ground before the present stadium was built in 1962. City of Lusaka Limited was incorporated in 1961. In the year 2000, a new entity called City of Lusaka 2000 was created. The dream at the time was City of Lusaka would be eventually be listed on the Lusaka Stock Exchange and raise capital by selling shares to the public. The title deeds to the Woodlands Stadium complex are held by City of Lusaka 2000 Plc.
Today we are faced with two organisations claiming to be City of Lusaka. One is a company that is duly registered with PACRA, ZRA and with title deeds duly issued by the Ministry of Lands.
The second one claims to be a community organisation. It has no legal entity and claims to be some sort of community organisation and claims that City of Lusaka is a community club.
I take serious issue with the second organisation. The reason, well as a resident of the community it supposedly represents on and off for the last 45 years, I have never ever seen or heard of a community meeting to discuss City of Lusaka affairs. Instead since the death of Michael Mwape in the Gabon disaster of 1993, a succession of people has claimed to run the affairs of the club on behalf of the community.
As a member of this community, I have never, not once been consulted or informed of their activities by these so-called community activists running this club on my behalf.
City of Lusaka instead has deteriorated and fallen into disrepair. Its clubhouse before being demolished had become a brothel and a subpar drinking place with unhygienic toilets without running water reeking of urine and other unspeakables.
City of Lusaka had also fallen into the hands of some rather murky operators. There is a caveat against the title deeds due to an earlier transaction executed in the name of City of Lusaka. Spectra Oil paid money to City of Lusaka for the right to build a filling station at the location where a shopping centre has now sprung up. The transaction ran into legal trouble and Spectra lost a lot of money. It is alleged that the funds Spectra paid never reached City of Lusaka.
Another company, financial investment firm Cavmont FMO sponsored and lent funds amounting to K6 million to City of Lusaka, once again the funds are alleged to have to the greater part never reached City of Lusaka. Eventually, the firm ended up with shares in City of Lusaka in lieu of repayment of funds advanced.
We now have a so-called community backed executive who claimed to have been voted to run the affairs of the club. This executive has disrupted the only positive progress seen at City of Lusaka in decades.
Woodlands Stadium was finally renovated with nice seats usable toilets and clean modern facilities. It now has executive boxes, a restaurant standard kitchen with entertainment facilities and has a name sponsor Vodafone. The surroundings now look in keeping with being in the Woodlands area of Lusaka.
The football team for the first time in decades was properly dressed, players got paid and despite being relegated, City of Lusaka looked like a team whose future was assured.
Suddenly a so-called community executive came up. These guys claim on behalf of the community that they claim to run the club. They have not produced any legal documents and just assert they are from THE COMMUNITY. I dispute this last assertion. They have never asked the people of Woodlands, Chilenje, Kabulonga, Chalala, Nyumba Yanga, Rockfield, and Libala to appoint them to act for them. THEY ARE ACTUALLY SELF APPOINTED.
They claim to be elected. In view of the shenanigans and lack of credibility that has been the order of the day concerning Annual General Meetings, elections and business of any sort where City of Lusaka are concerned I would take those claims with not a pinch but a wheelbarrow full of salt.
In life, actions speak louder than words. The actions of the so-called community group in the past have been anything but beneficial to the community. The club had even become a den of criminals. Drinking from there had become dangerous with cars regularly broken into, patrons attacked and mugged and the whole clubhouse turned into a dirty, smelly ruin.
For some of us, we believe in action. The actions of the other group have been more positive and have contributed more to the community than the so-called community led group. Woodlands Stadium is now a modern facility, there are jobs being created in the neighbourhood, we can see progress.
With the so-called community guys all we remember are toilets reeking of urine which used water from drums. As a member of the community, I would rather have progress. The so-called community leaders had run down the club to the point here one of the players was evicted from his home and had to squat in the team dressing rooms!!!
If the community group really represent the community as they claim, in my opinion, they should step aside and let progress advance. The plot of land City of Lusaka sits on, had become an eyesore. The stadium itself had fallen into disrepair. The clubhouse itself was a shabby ruin, a shoddy mess, fallen far from its glory days when Supreme Court judges, Bank of Zambia Governors, economic Advisors to the President, Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and prominent business people were regular members and relaxed in its confines. Being a member of the City of Lusaka club used to carry prestige in society. Today even a barrow boy at the market would not like to be associated with it.
If truly City of Lusaka is a community club, then we in the community want progress. We want a safe entertainment place, with clean toilets, modern facilities and a properly and professionally run club. Not more mediocrity and incompetence in the name of helping the community.