Former DeMbare players meet to discuss ownership wrangles




Bernard Lusengo-Marriot

THE ownership wrangles at Harare giants Dynamos are set to take a new twist this coming weekend when disgruntled former players convene a meeting to reconstitute the club’s board of trustees. 

The main subjects on the agenda include the discussion around the validity of the tenure of the current board of trustees led by Bernard Marriot and the election of a new board of trustees. 

The outcome of this meeting, whose agenda was circulated in the mainstream media last week, is likely to have an impact on the current set up at the Glamour Boys, where Marriot is the chairman of the board and has allegedly claimed control of the club with a 51 percent share ownership. 

However, some DeMbare members have queried how Marriot came to acquire the shares and have taken the matter to court. 

Marriot is set to return at the Harare magistrates court this Friday, a day before the scheduled meeting, facing fraud charges. 

The club’s former players, who last held their meeting in December 2016, form the Electoral College, which is the club’s supreme decision-making body, also responsible for election of the board of trustees. 

“Notice is hereby given of the aforementioned meeting of Dynamos Football Club’s Electoral College members. Only bona fide Electoral College members as defined by the 1963 Dynamos Football Club constitution are invited to attend,” read the notice of the meeting. 

The meeting will start with a roll call and then proceed to the appointment of a chairman and secretary to get the proceedings in order. 

A confirmation of the minutes of the last Electoral College meeting held on December 11, 2016 will follow before delving into the serious matters that include assessment of the “validity of the current board of trustees’ term of office (with) reference to Article 5 and 6 of the constitution of Dynamos Football Club” and “election of board of trustees in terms of Article 5 of the constitution of Dynamos Football Club”. Dynamos was formed in 1963 as a community football club. Over the years, the club has based most of its functions on the constitution drawn up by the founding fathers in 1963. The Electoral College is the football parliament of the club and is described as “comprising of the founder members and former players who joined the club within the first years of its existence.” 

More former players would be incorporated into the structures in order of seniority to maintain perpetuity of leadership. However, the control of the club has been in dispute for years, following the death of most of the founding members. 

A former player, who is among those pushing for the meeting, yesterday told The Herald that the current leadership at Dynamos were contravening the club’s constitution. 

“The chairman of the board of trustees is elected by the Electoral College but Dynamos have, for many years, been operating without a board of trustees, apparently in contravention of the club’s founding principles. 

“The constitution is very clear on what should be happening at the club. Right now we have a situation where people appoint themselves on the board, yet there should be elections taking place to renew leadership at regular intervals. 

“So this meeting is going to look around all those issues and try to bring back order at this institution. It’s unfortunate some people have been running the club outside of the provisions of the constitution. The time has come now for legal structures to be set up at Dynamos.” Present DeMbare board chairman, Marriot, is currently facing a court challenge after one of the former members of the board Robson Rundaba raised a legal complaint. 

The case has been going on at the Harare Magistrates Courts since last year. Marriot indicated on his last court appearance on February 22 that he wanted to file for an exception to fraud charges where he is accused of fraudulently attempting to take ownership of the club. 

It is alleged that sometime in 2008, Dynamos FC articles of association were replaced through a special resolution. 

The net effect of the articles of association was to allocate some shares to people who were active members of the club during its formative period in 1963 to 1968. 

It is said that this was in accordance with the recommendations of the Sports and Recreation Commission. 

The court heard the Articles of Association were adopted through Article 6 to 19 and a three-member committee was set up to look into the issue of allocation, payment, distribution, and issuing of share certificates.

Rundaba, Marriot and the club’s former chief executive officer, Casper Muzenda, were members of the committee. 

However, the said committee never convened to deliberate on the allocated task and to that effect, the allocation of shares and issuance of certificates was not done. 

Then it is alleged that sometime in February 2014, Rundaba reported a case against Webster Marechera who was then the club treasurer. Rundaba did so in his capacity as director of finance and the board was not happy with the decision to report the fraud case. Pursuant to that they called for a meeting in his absence and resolved to replace him with Owen Chandamale, who is now deceased, as the new director of finance. 

On April 21, 2014, the Dynamos board resolved that Rundaba withdrew the matter from the court and he complied with the resolution on August 18 2014. 

However, Rundaba was not happy with that decision and he just walked out and never involved himself in Dynamos issues, although he never resigned as a director at Dynamos Private Ltd. 

The court papers allege that sometime in 2019, Rundaba received a call from Sakunda Holdings chief operations officer Mberikwazvo Chitambo advising him that Marriot had approached their company seeking sponsorship for Dynamos FC and that he was claiming to be the sole owner of the club. 

Rundaba allegedly convened a meeting with Chitambo in the company of Simon Sachiti and one Nyamandwe. 

It was alleged that during the meeting Chitambo hinted that Marriot had changed his earlier claims saying he owned 51 percent of the company shares. Marriot’s claims to Sakunda Holdings prompted Rundaba to make a report to the police who conducted investigations on the matter. Investigations revealed that Marriot had manipulated the process of shares and distribution and awarded himself 51 percent shareholding without the knowledge or approval of Rundaba. The State alleges Marriot’s actions caused a potential prejudice of 51 percent shares to Dynamos.