By Albert Nxumalo
Outspoken Norton legislator Temba Mliswa is facing a potential ZW$4m lawsuit from Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) top officials.
Mliswa recently took to micro blogging platform Twitter and accused ZIFA president Felton Kamambo and Philimon Machana of abusing money for the association amounting to US$750 000 that was meant to cater for the Zimbabwe men national footbal team in Egypt for the Africa Cup of Nations tournament.
This did not go down well with the officials.
They have since instructed their lawyers Ngarava Moyo and Chikono to prepare defamatory charge.
“We act for and on behalf of the Zimbabwe Football Association, the officials of Zimbabwe Football Association in their official capacity as such as Messer Feltron Kamambo and Philimon Machana in their individual capacities….” wrote the lawyers on June 25.
“We are instructed to and we hereby do demand that you retract the patently defamatory statements you made against our clients within 7 days of this letter.
“We are instructed that on divers occasions and using your Twitter handle and during live broadcast of Punchlineafrivatv you uttered statements to the effect our clients abused money for association in the sum of US$750 000 that was meant to cater for the Zimbabwe men national soccer team in Egypt for the Africa Cup of Nations tournament”.
Added the lawyers ” You state that the money was diverted for personal use and that ZIFA officials took their girlfriends to Egypt using money meant for the national team at the expense of the intended beneficiary.
The lawyers said the statements are “defamatory per ser in the sense that you are accusing our clients of theft and that they are not fit and proper people to hold public office as they abuse public funds.
“Further the statements are defamatory in that they mean that our clients are promiscuous people who engage in adulterous behaviour using public funds.”
Mliswa was instructed to withdraw the statements ” in the same publication they we made and the retraction be accorded the same prominence given to the publication of the defamatory statements failing which we are instructed litigation claiming defamatory damages to the cumulative sum of ZW$4 000 000.00 together with costs of suit of legal practitioner to client and collection commission”.
In a separate issue ZIFA came out guns blazing in it’s defence over a string of alleged financial abuse running into thousands of dollars.
Again Mliswa is at the centre of the allegations.
In recent past, ZIFA has been bombarded by accusations of its leadership misappropriating funds channeled to it by FIFA, Confederation of African Football (CAF) and those raised through fundraising activities.
Last week, Mliswa vowed to effect a citizen arrest upon the return of ZIFA officials from Egypt.
All along ZIFA had not strongly defended itself.
However, in a lengthy press statement, ZIFA said “time has come for us to tell the devil that this is not their place and that they are liars”
“The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) wishes to allay any fears from football stakeholders which may have emanated from misleading and false claims of misappropriation of funds being made by certain mischievous elements” reads part of the statement.
“It is also disappointing that Hon Themba Mliswa has also jumped into the fray without seeking to satisfy himself with the available evidence. He has even claimed he will issue out citizen arrest on ZIFA officials on these untested allegations. As a lawmaker, one would expect the legislator to be fully conversant with the laws of the land.
ZIFA is well prepared for his threats”.
It further said “ZIFA shall be taking the MP head on so that he can prove his wild allegations or he has to pay for it in accordance with the dictates of our laws.
“If the Hon MP and his handlers have incriminating evidence why has he not reported such to police so that the law can take its course. Why is he trying to be law unto himself? Where does he derive such power and authority? This bullying must stop”.