I HAVE the unenviable duty to discuss the outright persecution of Samuel Matete, the man history places quite high in Zambian sport.
There is no need to introduce Matete to anyone who has the slightest understanding of athletics in Zambia because his image looms large; he achieved everything on the track. Introducing him would be like asking whether one has ever seen the sun.
Some body called the Copperbelt Amateur Athletics Area Board had the guts to ban Matete for life because he allegedly ran parallel structures or something like that. Flimsy, isn’t it?
I do not want to dwell on the perceived offence Matete committed but rather advise the Copperbelt guys, who seem to have Dutch courage and blind loyalty, to desist from actions that further cast the reputation of athletics in bad light.
I am alive to the fact that there are issues that are in court concerning Matete and his legibility to stand as Zambia Amateur Athletics Association president. I am also aware that the term of the current ZAAA executive expired last November but I will not waste time on that because I fully understand the risk of contempt of court.
CAAAB should be advised to, forthwith, stop harassing Matete because there is nothing wrong he has done. Organising a social event that includes running does not amount to running parallel structures.
I have said before and I will, at the expense of boring you, repeat that an event like the inter-company relay has nothing to do with mainstream athletics.
Matete has been stopped, sometimes violently, from organising an inter-company relay on the Copperbelt. That is erroneous and a violation of Matete’s rights.
Imagine CAAAB or whoever they call themselves stopping you and your family from jogging in the morning because they have not given you the nod, or blocking you from walking because it is one of the competition areas of athletics. There is a word that defines people who think like that but I will not use it.
Thing is, CAAAB will be accused of acting on behalf of my good brother and ZAAA president Elias Mpondela because there has been bad blood between him and Matete. I want to force myself to believe that Mpondela is innocent in all these schemes.
Let me make one point clear, even as I vouch for Matete on this matter; I do not believe he is a prototypical leader of athletics. He seems to be typically timid to galvanise a broad sport like athletics. But that does not mean he has no rights or that he cannot express himself or show interest in running affairs of athletics.
The best CAAAB can do is to give him a break or as they say in street lingo, get a life!
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