Politicians leading sports associations must quit: Mliswa

Firebrand Norton legislator Temba Mliswa says politicians who hold positions in sporting associations should step down to avoid conflict of interest.

This comes after some sport administrators were recently elected into parliament.

The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) president Phillip Chiyangwa and his deputy Omega Sibanda are now members of the National Assembly.

Zimbabwe Cricket is also run by Tavengwa Mukuhlani, who is MP for Mhondoro-Ngezi.

Currently, the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation has no policy that prohibits politicians from holding positions in sport associations unless if they work for public entities such as councils or government bodies.

Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, Mliswa said politicians should not hold office in sporting associations.

Mliswa, is a former fitness trainer with the Zimbabwe national football team.

“My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Sport. What policy do you have on Members of Parliament who are national heads of associations for sport? What policy do you have to make sure there is no conflict?” he asked.

In her response, Deputy Minister of Sport, Yeukai Simbanegavi, said the ministry could, from a moral point of view and if necessary, consider amending the legislation in order to uphold ethical considerations.

“Section 129 (h) of the Constitution on the issue of appointments of Members of Parliament indicates clearly that a Member of Parliament can only not go to Parliament or should resign when he is a member of either a provincial or a local council or when he works for any Government entity. In this situation, ZIFA, Zimbabwe Cricket or any other association is not a public entity,” she said.

The deputy minister added that government does not interfere with the operations of national sports associations.

“We deal with them through the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), which is a statutory body,” she said.

“If we, as a Ministry deal directly with ZIFA, we would be charged by FIFA for interfering in football activities.

“I know that probably one would wonder and say that probably being in ZIFA is a public office but as far as we know as a Ministry, a public office is defined as someone who is working and being paid by the Government”.

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