Sports journalists' hypocrisy and TFF election

28Jun 2021
Nassir Nchimbi
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Sports journalists' hypocrisy and TFF election

​​​​​​​IN October 2019, Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) Secretary General, Wilfred Kidao, announced the federation's plan to make major changes in structure and other issues.

Wilfred Kidao.

He pointed out that the size of the general assembly was reduced from 129 to 87 members, the Executive Committee members' number decreased from 13 elected members to six and the number of voters decreased from four per region to two.

He was referring to the changes that would be made by the general assembly early the following year.

This was the last time the media reported such a dramatic change.

The media has not sparked any debate about the change and whether it has the potential to protect incumbent leaders by harassing those who want to enter, especially those outside the body.

A person would have relied on various football stakeholders, former officials, former candidates, and lawyers for their views on the changes, but the prevailing news was the strengths and weaknesses of the Simba and Yanga strikers and the analysis of box-to-box midfielders of European clubs.

Those were the events dominated by the media rather than the essential issues that make Tanzanian football grow, continue or persist, entertain or disgust.

No radio, Television station, social media, or newspapers paid attention to this issue. It seemed like a one-off event and it was let go.

Even when the TFF General Assembly convened at the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) hall early last year, there was no prompt of reporters wanting to know in detail how the changes took place and what they meant to inform football stakeholders that the body had undergone major reforms.

The primary function of the media is to inform, educate and entertain.

The issue of change was reported on a small scale, journalists did not educate stakeholders so that when it comes to elections or when it is important to see the goals of change, the actors can make the right decisions.

Thus, if the constitutional amendment were simply touched and it did not appear to have a significant impact on the election, especially for stakeholders who wanted to contest, it would not be easy for anyone to begin to know the changes in detail.

The irony is that the writers are relieving themselves of their responsibility to inform and educate and push the candidates who blame the condition that presidential candidates should be sponsored by five stakeholders, the short time for candidates to find them, and even the requirement to prevent one member from sponsoring two candidates.

The federation's constitution does not limit on sponsors, as if it were a political election as in parties where presidential candidates are sponsored by as many members as possible although the difference is that the sponsors are not the ones who go to vote in their decision-making meetings as is the case with the TFF.

I have followed many radio stations, newspaper, and television debates all over the place, I have seen blames on the candidates for being careless and that if they had been careful they would have sought the rules and the constitution and know what they should do.

They would have embarked on early strategies to create a sponsored environment.

All the candidates needed was to start early.

Writers and broadcasters were not required to reach the lowest level of argument-making, but to go back and see that they had erred in their role in society — informing and educating.

So the laughter and ridicule of the candidates would be turned to journalists due to the great weakness of not educating the public about such a radical change.

We should not have the courage to make fun of candidates for something we did not research professionally.

Constitution has so many changes that could provoke heated debates if the media will do their job to support the development of football.

If the media does not see the importance, then the laughter, contempt, and ridicule against those who now complain about the evils of constitutional change must turn to journalists for not taking appropriate action, when they deserve to fulfill their responsibilities to society.

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