Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
A CONSTITUTIONAL oversight might have seen scores of ghost councillors taking part in the ZIFA Congress, including electing domestic football’s leadership, for years, in violation of the association’s statutes.
The Congress is the supreme body of ZIFA and brings together all members, of the structures, which make up the country’s football controlling body.
Its members have unlimited powers and they don’t only appoint the ZIFA leadership but can revoke the executive’s mandate, to keep leading the national game.
They can also dissolve ZIFA.
“The Congress is the meeting at which all members of ZIFA regularly convene,’’ reads the association’s constitution. “It represents the supreme and legislative authority of ZIFA.
“Only a Congress that is duly convened has the authority to make decisions.
“The Congress has the following authority:
- a) Adopting or amending the statutes, regulations governing the application of the Statutes and the standing orders of the Congress.
- b) Electing the (ZIFA) president and the vice presidents and members of the executive committee.
- d) Installation of the chairman, deputy chairman and members of the Electoral Committee.
- e) Appointing the scrutineers.
- f) Approving the financial statements.
- g) Approving the budget.
h)Approving the president’s activity report.
- i) Appointing the independent auditors upon the proposal of the Executive Committee.
- j) Fixing the membership subscriptions.
- k) Deciding, upon the nomination of the Executive Committee, whether to bestow the title of honorary president or honorary member.
- l) Admitting, suspending or expelling a member.
m)Revoking the mandate of one or a number of members of a body of ZIFA.
- n) Dissolving ZIFA.
- o) Passing decisions, at the request of a member, in accordance with these statutes.’’
Members of the ZIFA Congress are drawn from the lowest structures, like beach football and futsal, to the highest structure, represented by the Premier Soccer League.
However, it has emerged that an oversight could have resulted in the domestic game continuously acting against the provisions of the very bible, which should guide their operations.
It relates to what defines a delegate, who is supposed to represent the lower structures, like the regional and provincial leagues, at the Congress.
Article 21 (b), which was added to the constitution when it was adopted, on September 28, 2013, exposes the chaos, which has somehow rumbled on, for years.
The amendment was brought in to legalise the proposed establishment of the National League. “For the National League (once established) four delegates, from the Executive Committee of the National league, according to the previous football season (will be part of the Congress),’’ reads Article 21 (b) of the ZIFA constitution.
The requirement is very clear and stipulates that the four delegates shall come “from the Executive Committee of the National League.’’
There are two important issues here:
The constitution clearly mentions the existence of the “Executive Committee of the National League.’’
It also makes it clear that, once it has been established, the four delegates will come from that Executive Committee.
The same constitution, though, does not mention, or acknowledge, the existence of the Executive Committee of the Northern Region, Southern Region, Eastern Region and Central Region Division One leagues.
However, it parcels out “four delegates,’’ to each of the four regional leagues, bringing the number of delegates, who attend the ZIFA Congress from these structures, to 16.
It doesn’t give delegate status, in terms of attendance to the ZIFA Council, to those who claim to be the leaders of the regional leagues.
The chairmen, vice chairman, secretary-generals and treasurers of these four regional leagues have usually represented them, in the ZIFA Congress.
However, the very existence of these executive committees they claim to be a part of, which has been giving them authority to be members of the ZIFA Council, is not officially recognised, by the association’s constitution.
“The four delegates can be anyone from their ranks, tasked by the regional leagues, to represent them at the Congress, as long as he or she is a member of that league, and has their mandate, there is no problem at all,’’ said a lawyer, who chose to remain anonymous.
‘’This whole thing of monopolising these Assembly positions, as we have seen all these years, when it’s clearly in violation of the constitution, has been at the heart of some of the challenges we have seen in local football administration.
“I wouldn’t go to the extent of calling them ghost delegates but, given they are representing committees whose existence is not acknowledged by the constitution, I can understand why others could choose to go that far.
“The Congress is like parliament, the rules are clear as who can represent people in the national assembly, it’s all provided for in our national constitution.
“I have gone through the constitution and the difference is clearly highlighted when it comes to the proposed National League.
“Here, the constitution not only acknowledges there will be the existence of an ‘executive committee’ but clearly spells out its four delegates, for the Congress, will only come from that leadership.
“The constitution says the ‘delegates must belong to the member that they represent and be appointed, or elected by the appropriate body, of that member.’
“What is clear here is that these regional leagues can appoint or elect anyone, to represent them at Congress, and not just the four members of the executive, whose existence, interestingly, isn’t acknowledged by the ZIFA constitution.’’
The same constitution also does not mention, or even acknowledge, the existence of the executive committees of the provincial leagues of Bulawayo, Harare, Manicaland, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Masvingo, Matabeleland North and South and the Midlands.
They have all been providing one delegate each to the ZIFA Congress.