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D-Day looms for Dynamos


By Goodwill Zunidza

D-Day is looming in the Dynamos determination case as rival boards vie for control of the popular football team in a dramatic encounter playing out in the courts.

Magistrate Yeukai Dzuda is still trying to make heads or tails of the case after both the complainants and defence completed their submissions and is now waiting for the witnesses to be cross-examined before delivering her verdict.

At the heart of the matter is the ownership status of Zimbabwe’s biggest and most successful club which was founded in 1963.

Aggrieved former players and officials of the team are up against Bernard Mariott, alleging that he unprocedurally allotted 51 percent of the club’s shares to himself.

The late David George, a 1970s former striker and later coach of the team, reported Mariott to the police who subsequently charged him with fraud.

George passed away during the course of trial but the State has lined up five more witnesses corroborating his story. These include former treasurer Eric Mvududu and ex-players Sam Mukomondo, Ernest Kamba, David Phiri and Garikai Zuze.

They contend that in terms of the Dynamos 1963 constitution each former player or official is entitled to one share of the team apiece, regardless of whether or not they were present at the team’s founding.

In defence Mariott, through his lawyer Herbert Mutasa, argues that the constitution was replaced by a memorandum of understanding passed in 1999 to form Dynamos Pvt Ltd which now owns the team having commenced operations in 2008.

Mariott claims to be the sole surviving director of that company which entitles him to all the team’s bounty although the original company document purportedly offered him 51 percent.

Mvududu, the State’s lead witness, told magistrate Dzuda that Mariott’s papers were fraudulent as the meetings he alluded to which gave him the authority to possess the team were irregular.

He produced a judgement by former Supreme Court judge and now Chief Justice Malaba that nullified all juristic decisions made by the club which were ultra-vires the 1963 constitution and ruled that the club be run by its former players.

Mvududu further avers that the company that Mariott uses to control Dynamos is envisaged in the constitution but as a public entity that lists on the Stock Exchange for supporters to buy shares and not as a private company owned by individuals.

“The constitution stipulates that 60 percent of the club shares must be in the hands of former players and officials at the division of one share apiece. The remainder is floated on the bourse for supporters to purchase shares,” Mvududu submitted.

Mariott’s legal team is hinging its defence on the presumed innocence of the witnesses whom it perceives as non-concerned parties who were coerced to support ambitious elements seeking to wrestle the team from their client.

In cross-examining the second witness Garikai Zuze, Mutasa aimed to prove to the court that the former had no idea of what he was fighting for as he had either not read the constitution or did not understand it.

To his credit Zuze stuck to the facts as he knew them. He acknowledged knowing Mariott as an ordinary team official from 1988 when the former joined the team from Bindura United as a player but said the club had closed all communication lines with him once he retired in 1993.

Zuze was still to complete his evidence when Dzuda adjourned the case to May 31, this year for continuation of trial with four more witnesses still to testify.

The ensuing boardroom battles have had a bearing on the team’s performance on the field as the Glamour Boys are currently perched in the lower half of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League without a league title, that they so used to dominate, in the last 10 years.

Mariott also cuts a lonely figure in court without any member of the Dynamos fraternity accompanying him save for his close security details.

His adversaries, who basically comprise the multitude of former players, have in contrast been turning out in their numbers to support the cause against him.

Mariott’s opponents are organised under a rival Board of Trustees led by chairman Stanley Chirambadare and secretary general Esau Amisi which, after their election by the Electoral College, appointed Leslie Gwindi and Mvududu as executive committee chairman and secretary respectively.

Their meeting last year was the first time the Electoral College was sitting in more than 15 years.

Defence lawyer Mutasa has however put it to the court that the Electoral College which made the decisions was not lawfully constituted.

Magistrate Dzuda, now working at the Kadoma Magistrates Court, did not indicate whether she would be travelling to Harare to continue presiding over the trial or will hand it to a separate magistrate to conclude the case.

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