He is not of good standing

AFTER lengthy consultations with my conscience I have  decided to finally respond to the blatant dishonesty, hate language and threats made by a Highlanders Football Club board member.

While Highlanders Football Club is an institution supported and respected by many including myself, I find utterances made by Luke Mnkandla first of all against myself and then against members of the media grossly unfair and dishonest. Mnkandla is a person I held in high esteem and have always wanted to meet.

I was, however, shocked and horrified by the remarks that he made at Nkanyeni Centre near Inyathi two weeks ago. I was in the company of five colleagues all of whom are available to testify about what Mnkandla said.

The respectable Mnkandla arrived just near the vehicle we were using in the company of Dumisani Ndlovu who was driving our vehicle and what I thought would be a friendly chat turned out to be a shocking experience.

He proceeded to lecture us on why Earnest “Maphepha” Sibanda was not a suitable candidate for the Highlanders elections stating, among other things, that he knew better because he was a board member and a returning officer for the Highlanders elections.

This was before the annual general (AGM). I pointed out to him that the principles of any election require returning officers should be impartial, but he would have none of it as he continued frothing from the mouth about the unsuitability of Maphepha.

I don’t have any brief for Sibanda and have never met him or spoken to him, but as a person who is reasonably schooled in the conduct of elections, I was quite shocked by the conduct of this returning officer who had openly stated his disdain of one candidate even before elections were held or a decision had been made about suitability of the candidate.

I do now know whether Highlanders are different and I know they are a club that upholds integrity of electoral processes and corporate governance, but to be honest I was shocked at the man’s open partiality and pointed this out to him.

I was later shocked to read that Mnkandla was denying what he had said and labelling me as “mad and somebody who should go and die”, in the Chronicle.

First of all the use of hate language is unbecoming of board members  of a reputable institution such as Highlanders where sponsors expect sober leadership which respects the public’s views and even those of “mad people” such as myself and the media.

While Mnkandla was right that he may never have been to Nkayi or Inyathi in the last few years he blatantly lied that he did not utter those statements when there are witnesses to prove this.

Secondly I find it appalling that a whole board member of a whole football club and indeed a club that I love so much, would berate the media and use words such as “smelly” to deflect attention  for his monumental blunder. To add  insult to injury, he went on to mislead a whole AGM that he did not make such statements threatening members of the media.

He went on to target  a female member of a media house and directed threats at her for the article she had written quite accurately.

He forgets that with the advent of modern technology there is such a thing as recordings (which can be happily made available).

The respected board member does not understand that in the modern world the media and indeed other stakeholders are critical in building the image of any club and projecting a professional and corporate image.

How can we expect supporters not to throw missiles at matches when we have a board member threatening members of the media, lying to an AGM and using hate language?

It would be a shame if such a respectable institution such as Highlanders allows itself to be run by people who have no respect for other people and spew hate language with no regard for the truth.

Mnkandla is not of good standing at all and he should do the honourable thing and apologise or resign. How could he lie to all those people at the AGM, then abdicate responsibility, blame the media and threaten innocent female reporters?

The media both conventional and new including Facebook are integral aspects of modern life and e-governance and Bosso needs to embrace these and not fight them because in doing so we are destroying the club’s relationships with stakeholders and in effect, sponsors.

Dumisani Nkomo is an activist, social entrepreneur and chief executive officer of Habakkuk Trust. He writes in his personal capacity.

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