The Zimbabwe crisis December 1, 2005

Yet again Zimbabwe board fails to hold meeting

Our special correspondent in Harare

Peter Chingoka: failure to raise a quorum shows 'who the real enemies of the game or people with ultra motives are' © Getty Images
Attempts by Zimbabwe Cricket to hold a board meeting grew increasingly farcical as yet another scheduled gathering was cancelled at short notice. There has still not been a legitimate meeting since the controversial AGM almost three months ago.

On Thursday, Peter Chingoka, the embattled ZC chairman, called board members and told them that once again he had failed to obtain the quorum necessary to enable Saturday's meeting to proceed. But Cricinfo has established that seven officials, including some provincial chairmen, had actually committed themselves to attending and Chingoka would have been the eighth, which would have completed the quorum. An insider suggested that the latest cancellation was a move by the pro-Chingoka faction on the board - primarily Tavengwa Mukuhlani, Cyprian Mandenge and Wilson Manase - fearing that the chairman and Ozias Bvute, the managing director, could face a tough time.

On Wednesday, Clive Field, the players' representative, met with the government-appointed Sports and Recreation Committee as the commission continued with its stakeholders' investigation aimed at resolving the crisis. The commission asked the players to have faith in them, and they responded by agreeing to stay put for a few weeks while monitoring progress.

"We were well-received. They understood our concerns," said Field. "They have asked us to give them time to do a report and make recommendations. The players are prepared are prepared to stick around. But we explained to them that time was running away, and we need to move in a way that will not make cricket collapse."

The news of the cancellation comes on the day that the Herald quoted Chingoka as calling on the board members to appear at the meeting. "I am saying if the provincial chairmen really have cricket at heart as they claim then they should attend," he said. "Their continued absence will not only delay the solving of a number of outstanding issues, it will also show who the real enemies of the game or people with ultra motives are.

"On my part, I have been making myself available for meetings but there is nothing I could do without a quorum. I don't make unilateral decisions but everything has been collectively done and even the response to the provincial associations should also be a collective responsibility.

"There have been some attempts to isolate me and hold me responsible for board decisions yet such decisions have involved others on the board. That collective responsibility must also apply in our response to the provincial associations."

Chingoka also claimed that the "players haven't signed contracts because there is need to clarify which exchange rate to use on their remuneration and it's an issue the ZC management has referred to the board for guidance." The players, however, would counter that the contracts are a side issue. They want Chingoka and Bvute out, and on Tuesday released a statement stating that they would not play for Zimbabwe while the pair remained at the helm, as well as supporting former captain Tatenda Taibu.

The latest cancellation also leaves the game in limbo. It was hoped that a new national captain would be chosen, with it being a choice between Andy Blignaut and Hamilton Masakadza, and also confirmation of the new selection panel originally picked in September but subsequently voided when it was found that meeting had been unconstitutional.

An Special General Meeting is scheduled for December 23 when ZC will try to pass its highly-controversial move to create five new provinces. If it succeeds, then the faction supporting Chingoka will almost certainly have enough muscle to regain control of the board and be able to quash the attempted rebellion by some provincial chairmen. The players, however, seem more determined to see the back of Chingoka and Bvute, and they, and the investigations into the board, could be the decisive factors in the battle for the future of cricket in Zimbabwe.