Allan Foti, Sports Correspondent
BULAWAYO businessman Kenneth Mhlophe has launched a social media campaign in an effort to reach the Highlanders electorate ahead of the club’s elections early next year for the chairman’s position.
Mhlophe launched his campaign last week and is hoping to use the ever growing popularity of digital media to share his manifesto containing his vision for the club as well as have direct communication with both voting members and multitudes of Bosso fans.
Mhlophe and his campaign team are convinced that most people today are tech savvy and are constantly interacting on various social media platforms for news and discussions.
The businessman’s team unveiled the “For they have called, I heed. Ready to serve” campaign initiative designed to engage Highlanders members and supporters of all ages and it “illustrates the shared values of the candidate and Highlanders supporters and members across the country: that if we work together, we can continue to move this club forward.”
“Strengthen Bosso’s locally based talent identification. Vibrant junior policy backed by sound funding. That’s our story,” is the campaign’s war cry as the race begins to hot up and candidates are slowly coming out of the woodwork and declaring their interests.
The campaign now has a footprint on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter where it’s trending under two hash tags: #AsilwiSiyasebenza and #Mhlophe4BossoChair.
Mhlophe’s campaign is a savvy play and guaranteed to drive engagement as well as stimulate open discussions between the candidate and the electorate.
“My team and I agree that Highlanders members and the supporters who can’t vote deserve to know what the aspiring chairman wants to do at their club. They deserve an opportunity to engage in discourse with him or her and discuss his vision and how it will work to make Highlanders a powerhouse again,” Mhlophe said.
“We will use our digital footprint to share my manifesto and vision for the club should I be elected. But to be frank, I will keep these channels open to members and supporters alike even after the elections because this has to be a continuing process of engagement between the chairman and the club’s stakeholders,” Mhlophe added.
Meanwhile, elections for the posts of chairman, secretary-general and committee member are likely to be held on 4 February next year a week after the Annual General Meeting which should be held on 28 January.
After a disappointing season in which they finished sixth, Highlanders supporters and members are expecting these elections to usher in new leaders who will be hard pressed to bring back the glory days.
In accordance to its Constitution, the club will constitute a Nomination Court consisting of three members of the Board of Directors and three members of the Board of Trustees one of whom among the six will assume the role of secretary and returning officer.
Article 11 (1) of the Highlanders Constitution stipulates that “the secretary of the Nomination Court shall cause to be published to all eligible members through the post or by notice in a newspaper circulating in Bulawayo, a notice calling for nominations for contested Executive Committee positions no later than 21 (twenty-one) days before the Annual General Meeting, which notice shall include a date for the election of the Executive Committee members, which date shall be preceded by the Annual General Meeting”.
The secretary of the Nomination Court is expected to issue the notice calling for nominations not later than 7 January which is 21 days before the Annual General Meeting will be held. The secretary will also announce in the same notice the exact time and date at which nominations will be closed.
After the AGM, the club through chief executive, Nhlanhla Dube will then call for an Extra Ordinary General Meeting which should be held on 4 February. This EGM is an elective meeting called specifically for the elections of the club’s officers.
Acting chairman Modern Ngwenya has hinted at the possibly of contesting the top position, but has not officially stated his intentions. Incumbent secretary-general, Emmet Ndlovu is thought to be considering taking time off and not contesting next year’s elections. Club legend, Lawrence “Lofty” Phiri’s name has been doing the rounds as a possible contestant for the SG’s job.
Many at the club will be watching the election with a keen eye, while voting members will have to be vigilant and elect a man that will not just ensure that the club is competitive, but also see to its stalled commercial growth.
Mhlophe the former army officer is currently the favourite to land the office with many seeing the re-incarnation of the late chairman, James Mangwana Tshuma, one of the most respected and successful of Highlanders chairmen.