The Zimbabwe crisis December 7, 2005

Ebrahim calls for government intervention

Cricinfo staff

A week might be along time in politics, but it is an eternity where Zimbabwe cricket is concerned. A little more than 24 hours ago, it seemed to be on the verge of a virtual coup with Peter Chingoka, the board chairman, and Ozias Bvute, the MD, in police custody and Ahmed Ebrahim poised to hold a meeting to remove them from office.

But this morning Chingoka and Bvute were released without charge, and at today's stakeholders meeting, Ebrahim was unable to gain the support of enough board members to form a quorum and so was unable to oust the controversial pair.

The news will be a bitter blow to the majority of the country's players and provincial chairmen who had been hoping that they could remove the two of them and try to form an alternative administration. But there now appears to be stalemate as Chingoka, too, has repeatedly failed to raise a quorum, and there has not been a Zimbabwe Cricket board meeting for three months.

"I have written a letter, to be delivered tomorrow [Thursday], to the Sports Commission seeking their intervention and assistance," Ebrahim told Reuters. "I've highlighted a number of resolutions which I believe should be put in place, such as the call for a full forensic audit and also for a committee to manage the daily running of the institution. If we had a quorum from the board we could have made resolutions. That wasn't there."

And although Chingoka claimed he had not been invited to the meeting, Ebrahim revealed that he had in fact asked for it to be postponed. "I refused to do that because I believe we have a crisis on our hands," Ebrahim explained. "These sorts of delays are no good for the game."

Although Chingoka and Bvute were earlier released after the Attorney General ruled there were no charges for them to answer, they still face some tough questioning over their running of Zimbabwe Cricket in general, and its finances in particular. The South Africa-based Mail & Guardian detailed specifics of the questions they were asked.

Among those are queries why secretarial salaries have risen almost 800% in the last year and claims that the board has been paying newspaper writers retainers. It was noticeable that none of the main papers mentioned of Monday's stakeholders meeting.