After the Elections: Pondering Africa’s Chess and Her Future

Over the past years, chess in Africa has seemingly gone through several stages of growth and the underdevelopment she has experienced was mostly because the continent has not been united on various fronts, but with the elections that were held at Batumi, Georgia, Africa seems to have finally moved a step in the right direction and that is towards having a united front and showing the power of her numbers.

FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich

Africa voted as a block unit and got Mr Arkady Dvorkovich elected. After which, the African elections were held in the best fashion possible, in unity. Federation presidents and delegates voted according to their hearts and belief, and at the end of the counting, of the 45 delegates that voted, 23 of the leaders voted for Mr Lewis Ncube, 21 leaders voted for Dr Essoh Essis and then there was the 1 bad vote (which most of the leaders suspect was that of Mr Noel Fumey, who had become the Fide Secretary General at the time and loved both candidates so much that he did not know whom to cast his vote in favor of).

Mr Lewis Ncube, African Chess Confederation President

After this election, the losers congratulated the winners and every member federation broke into the zonal meetings, where the zonal elections were decided on who would lead the zone as its presidents and the FIDE Executive Representative for each zone.

With this development, each of the four zones decided on their modus operandi. So for zone 4.4, it was elections by show of hands, which produced Mr Philip Ameku as the Zonal president, while Zone 4.3 had Mr Joe Mahomole, Zone 4.2 had Mr Omer Abdalla Omer Deab, and Zone 4.1 had Mr Merouane Tabti.

Zone 4.4 President-Mr Philip Ameku: Photo Credit – Jacinta W. Odongo
Zone 4.3 President, Joe Mahomole, CREDIT – Jacinta W. Odongo

With the continental elections done and dusted, Africa continued the following day and helped 4 other African leaders to gain positions of leadership in various FIDE offices starting from the FIDE Vice Presidency position, where they helped to elect Nigeria’s Mr Olalekan Adeyemi , to the committees and at the end of the day, Africa is found in most of the FIDE departments.

Now that elections are over and it is time for work, the questions beckon:

What is the duty of a zonal president?
What is the duty of a zonal Fide executive representative?
What are we expecting to see in the next few weeks, which would culminate in the next few months and the next few years?
When are the various commissions going to be set up?
When would the African Chess Confederation (ACC) become its own body and entity?
When are we going to have the ACC bank account?
When are we going to set up the ACC office and where?
When is the work starting?
With the weeks elapsed since the elections, it is imperative that the work begins, even though we have 4 years to work with. The led have to know what the leaders have in store for them, and how they plan to go about the leading.
There are various outstanding issues like the unpaid arbiter issues, the 2018 Zone 4.4 Individual Chess Championship and a few others. How does the ACC intend to tackle these issues? Because it is imperative that these issues are not carried over as they have been carried for too long. There is a need for solutions.

Yes, Africa has united and Africans want to work, as this is the fundamental of our people (working), but the purpose for electing leaders is for these leaders to point the led in the right direction and inform the populace what they need to get done in other for the continent to move forward and develop.

There are some countries in Africa that have been called “developing” since before I was born, now, I am currently over 30 years of age, and those countries are still carrying the same nametag of “developing”, WHY?

We can not afford to do things the same way we have always done it, neither can we get into the “we have tried” ideology, because the honest truth is that as long as the followers are unsatisfied, the leaders have not tried at all. And the fact is that as far as Africa is concerned, we are sincerely not hard to please, just do the needful and we will sing your praises to the ends of the earth.

My Pertinent Questions:
What are the goals of the zonal leaders? Each leader should have his/her own goal for the zone, which should be different from the overall goal of the ACC.
What are the goals of the commission’s representatives? What are the leaders, who have been elected from Africa into the various commissions in FIDE going to do, to ensure that the African interests are protected and we, as a continent, benefit from the various allocations and decisions that happens in the commissions? Africa needs to host the Olympiad at some point, as well as the World Championships, which would make the European chess greats touch the floors of Africa.

What does the ACC want to achieve at the end of this 4 year campaign? Apart from the unity that has been seen and experienced, even before the elections, cemented by the acceptance of the election results by all parties, what are the monthly, yearly and bi-yearly goals of the ACC? This would help Africans look forward towards the years ahead with huge anticipation and renewed hope that chess is indeed taking a turn for the best during this campaign.
What is the vision of the ACC? It is imperative that the ACC has a vision, which is what they hope to have achieved by the end of this tenure, and it is stated clearly for all to see. It gives both the ACC and we the followers something to always look up to as a drive to wanting to be the best we can be.

I said something before elections, and I will echo it once more, chess is an industry, and anyone not seeing it as an industry would miss it. There is a lot of potential in Africa and this potential needs to be harnessed in order to put chess on the map.
There are brands that have the funds to evolve, but need a life changing sport like chess to ride on. We have organizations that are zonal or continentally oriented, just like E.C.O.W.A.S, U.N.I.C.E.F and the like, and there are chess players gifted with skills to design the right types of proposals for these set of organizations, companies, brands etc.

It is time to engage everyone and get everyone to put their expertise to work and work together to get the best out of both the sport and ourselves.
At the end of the day, it is all about actions and results. It is time to make more Grandmasters in Africa. It is time to get the young ones to the point where they are not afraid to challenge for honours on the global stage. It is time to announce to the world that Africa is finally graduating from the point of “developing” to the point of “developed” as far as the game of chess is concerned.
Who knows, perhaps this is what chess really needs to break new grounds into the frontier of major sport industry and compete with the likes of Tennis and Golf.

Kindly leave your comments below.

2 comments

  1. I’m hoping Africa can find its own identity in chess. It is a new era. Asia has risen. It may well be Africa’s turn. We often look outside of the African Diaspora for our solutions and for validation. No more!

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