ONE Thursday evening, like all married people do when they are about to make a serious decision, bwana Desmond called his wife to order and delivered a bombshell: “Well my dear wife, I have decided to resign my position at Football House,” he said and galloped a glass of a named liquid substance after she consented to his proposal.
Well, ba Desmond thought he was being smart as he usually is on match days when he is media officer by performing his constitutional right, little did he know that he was committing an unforgivable sin in some blood-thirsty football vampires that have characterised football politics from somewhere in 2008 to date.
Like in any normal situation after clocking two years in the busy communications office at Football House, comrade Desmond called it quits, in fact, that is a decision Desmond had taken as far back as last December and those of us that worked closer with him knew about it.
But what you didn’t know dear reader is that Desmond’s departure from FAZ once again exposed more wolves in sheep skin, I will tell you what I mean later.
His departure became the fourth high profile resignation from FAZ since Andrew Kamanga took over from Kalusha Bwalya in 2016.
Ponga Liwewe resigned as general secretary, Moses Sichone resigned as deputy technical director, Eric Mwanza resigned as Club licensing instructor with Desmond being the latest officer to leave FAZ.
Let me quickly try to discuss these departures one-by-one starting with Ponga, those that know this son of the late legendary soccer commentator, will tell you that he is not simply a petty person you can engange in those sometimes senseless quarrels that have characterised football the past decade. And therefore, Ponga found the current environment too toxic for a professional marketer he is to thrive. He left and immediately the other camp called him a hero having called him names throughout his reign in charge of the FAZ secretariat – how odd.
Agreed Ponga might have his own imperfections at his job but who doesn’t have? Simply put, that office was not Ponga’s domain.
Not much to say about Sichone because even me dear reader, disapproved of his appointment based on his relationship with the Chipolopolo during his heydays as a star featuring in the Bundesliga. Also I was not sure he was up to scratch to the demands of that office even if his hiring may have been in good faith, he simply could not have managed and therefore his departure was not surprising.
Then Eric, actually here, most of us were shocked that he remained at Football House after Kalusha’s defeat because comrade Eric was a front liner in defence of his former boss and did it diligently against Kalusha’s detractors then. And hence was regarded as enemy number one, in the eyes of the ‘opposition’ and many Kamanga supporters thought Eric would be first to be fired…but professionals are professionals, and Eric deservedly kept his job because he is very good at it and FAZ will miss his services no matter how one tries to pretend.
However, my understanding is that the real reason Eric has left FAZ has nothing to do with politics. I sniffed, and if my sources are spot on, Eric is destined to one of the biggest if not, the most sensitive Zambia’s embassies in the world to run the press office.
Ok, remember I said at the start that Desmond has committed a sin, yes Desmond is going through what Harry Kalaba went through when he resigned as foreign affairs minister – hatred from the inner cirle.
Some known Kamanga supporters without proper reason started throwing unprovoked tantrums at somebody for merely resigning.
“That guy was almost fired.” Others “no that guy was transferred to club licensing, he refused.” Others “that guy wanted to be GS” “…he is incompetent”!
We watched from the terraces and watched our colleague being roasted, called names for merely resigning, but “Is it a sin to resign?” I wondered to myself.
On the left side of things, the other camp that had called Desmond all sorts of names during his stay in office immediately concluded he had differed with president Kamanga.
Desmond’s resignation brought out the epitome of hypocrisy in human beings. Because really the types of people that showed him ‘love’ the day his decision became public was shocking. It showed us how opportunistic people can be.
But the biggest disappointment in all this is FAZ’s failure to come out in the open and protect their own – state clearly that Desmond’s resignation had nothing to do with Kamanga, it was a personal decision. But they left the guy to start protecting himself or explaining himself or defending himself from people’s imaginations or speculation as to why he resigned. Here, Football House secretariat didn’t just fail Desmond, even the common good felt betrayed. FAZ bosses fed Desmond to the wolves and watched quietly as lapdogs took turns feasting on an innocent soul simply for fear of the unknown.
Desmond gathered the courage, picked his phone, started calling everyone who was mudslinging him in order to attract the attention of football authorities. He reminded them that there was more to life than Football House – yes he did, I heard it.
To all people involved in football in one way or another, Kamanga’s friends and enemies, you must know, there comes a time when football wins and that time is surely coming. Let professionals do their work professionally because time will come when Zambians will put your pettiness and hatred aside in favour of the common good. Football must win.
Kalusha lost elections on fine margins because he failed to tame some of his followers who misled him to his downfall. Likewise, if Kamanga doesn’t see that some of his followers will lead him the same path, he may live to regret it.
In the meantime, leave Desmond alone, let him enjoy his early retirement, he did his professional bit, likewise there are things he could have done better, but life always leaves room for lessons and improvements for everyone that occupies public office.
If Desmond had an acrimonious time at Football House, he could have resigned with ‘immediate effect.’ But no, he gave a three months’ notice to have a smooth transition therefore he needed protection from those that earn a living by lying or gossip.
Resignation from office for whatever reason, should not be a sin, no! It’s a choice of the office bearer and therefore respect it.
I wonder what’s going through the mind of Desmond’s assistant Sydney Mungala, another very professional guy.