Rugby union divided over poll date

A potentially damaging constitutional crisis is brewing in the Zambia Rugby Union (ZRU) with stakeholders calling for elections for a new executive at the Annual General Meeting set for February next year while the secretariat is adamant the polls will only take place in 2019.

The Clement Sinkamba-led ZRU executive was elected into office in February 2015 following the resignation of Martin Musunka a year earlier. Musunka quit the union presidency a year into office citing divisions.

Following Musunka’s resignation, his erstwhile vice-president John Chibuye stepped to the top in an interim capacity until fresh elections were called where Col Sinkamba was elected president to finish off Musunka’s four year term.

But in what stakeholders are calling a breach of the constitution, the ZRU secretariat wants to hold the elections in February 2019 claiming that the current executive’s four year mandate started when Sinkamba was elected and is not a continuation of Musunka’s term.

“The four-year term of office which we implemented comes to an end in February 2018. Whatever happens between a term of office does not alter the cycle. If a candidate resigns after serving one year, the four years will still count from where they started,” former ZRU president Musunka argues.

Musunka’s team implemented the new constitution provision of four year terms from the previous two-year tenure in line with the Sports Council of Zambia (SCZ), Africa Rugby (WR) and the World Rugby (WR) tenets.

ZRU head of secretariat Noble Chisenga claims that it was agreed at the AGM in Kabwe that the current executive which took over from Musunka would serve till 2019.

“Mr Musunka resigned in 2014 after serving a year on a four year term that was supposed to end in Feb 2018. However, fresh elections were called in Feb 2015 were the current Ex-Co was elected on a full four year term that ends in Feb 2019,” Chisenga said.

A former ZRU executive member, who sought anonymity, threatened to take the matter to the international rugby body, WR to seek redress should the union remain adamant.

“We are ready to take the matter to World Rugby and the Sports Council. The Constitution is very clear on this matter. We are already shot on sponsors and such shenanigans will only drive away would be sponsors of rugby. The structures for women rugby are dead,” she warned.

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