Home » Sports » The Zifa Constitution Is Anti-Football

RECENT complaints by some ZIFA board members and the subsequent debates have left many querying the role and the effectiveness of the ZIFA Executive Committee (The ZIFA Board).

A board, in simple terms, is a group of people constituted as the decision-making body of an organisation.

Normally, it is elected by the stakeholders to govern the organisation and look after the interests of the stakeholders.

Interestingly, the ZIFA board is a mere white elephant without any powers to act on anything.

Most, if not all, of its roles are proposal in nature.

In essence, there is nothing binding that they can come up with after a sitting. All their decisions would need ratification by another body, in this case, the ZIFA Assembly. The ZIFA board is not the ultimate decision making authority, the Congress is.

Article 20 (1) states that, “the Congress is the meeting at which all of the Members of ZIFA regularly convene. It represents the supreme and legislative authority of ZIFA. Only a Congress that is duly convened has the authority to make decisions.”

When the board members sit in a Congress they do not have any power to influence the decisions since they do not have the voting powers.

Article 21 (5) states that, “the Executive Committee and the General Secretary shall take part in the Congress without voting rights . . .”

They attend as mere spectators.

The ZIFA board does not set the objectives of ZIFA. They are already given in the constitution under Article 2. It also does not set the policies and give the overall direction. The duty to give the overall direction now rests with the ZIFA president.

And the driver of that direction is the ZIFA CEO. Somehow, the board does not have the power to question those decisions.

Although it seems the board has the power to hire and fire the CEO, a closer look shows that they actually have to play to the tune of the ZIFA president.

Article 37 (3) says, “only the President may propose the appointment or dismissal of the General Secretary which shall be approved by the Executive Committee.”

What this means is that the board has to wait for the president to make a move first. Even if the other seven members of the board are in agreement that the CEO is underperforming, there is nothing they can do until the president feels the same.

In essence, as long as the CEO is in good books with the president, his job is safe as long as the president is in office.

Surprisingly, the president is the one with the sole duty of “supervising the work of the general secretariat” as stipulated by Article 37 2(c). That means the president is the one who monitors and evaluates the CEO.

So, the duties that are normally played by the board in a normal organisation are assumed by other centres of power at ZIFA.

Then one wonders what roles does the board play?

The roles that the current ZIFA board play can be classified into the following categories

a) To propose to the Congress

b) Admission or non- admission of an applicant (Article 11 (2))

c) Agenda items for the Ordinary Congress (Article 27 (1))

d) Amendments to the statutes and standing orders (Article 29 (2))

In all its roles the ZIFA board has to subordinate to another authority, either the Council or the president.

This means it cannot impose its influence on any facet of ZIFA policies and the direction the organisation is taking. Neither can it provide the supervisory role to the General Secretariat that a normal board would provide.

The ZIFA board cannot play the procedural role of proper supervision, control, and information-flows to serve as a system of checks and balances.

As has been proved in the current scenario, they cannot reign in on any member of the ZIFA secretariat.

I wonder if the board members, with the exception of the president of course, can give orders to an office hand at ZIFA offices.

In fact, the ZIFA CEO, instead of subordinating to the board, he has shown them that they don’t have any significant role to play in the thick of things at ZIFA.

He has shown them, at every turn, that they need him more that he needs them. Such is the situation at ZIFA and it is supported by the constitution.

The new constitution was crafted and adopted in September 2013, a few months before the March 2014 ZIFA elections.

The fact that it aids to the cause of the then incumbents and signatories, Cuthbert Dube and Jonathan Mashingaidze, aggravates the suspicions.

It’s everyone’s knowledge that the bulk of the Congress members can barely understand the provisions of the documents that they are supposed to use for running and governing our football.

It’s a given that most do not bother to read those documents let alone the articles that are written debating the current situation at ZIFA.

The board, which used to have influential and knowledgeable people, had its membership number reduced from 13 to eight. This was done to increase the fluidity of decision making, it is claimed.

A closer look, however, shows that the reduction had ulterior motives.

One, to reduce the number of influential and knowledgeable people in the set-up.

Two, 50 percent of 8 is smaller than 13, hence it would be less expensive to buy allegiance and sway decisions in one direction.

A further look into the current divide of the board supports the above fact.

The under-fire board members, Omega Sibanda, Miriam Sibanda and Bernard Gwarada are successful business persons standing on their own feet whose “buying” would cost an arm and a leg.

The four Division One leagues’ representatives had proved a handful in their need for independence in board matters so they met the fate of their seats being abolished from the board.

These used to give true representation of the lower leagues. The likes of Gift Banda (Southern Region), Solomon Mugavazi (Northern Region) and (Central Region) were no pushovers.

These and other submissions point to a skewed constitution crafted to serve and safeguard the interests of Dube and Mashingaidze. What is needed is to institute constitutional amendments and come up with a constitution that is self-regulating.

One that would make every individual and group in the ZIFA set-up responsible and accountable.

Bothwell Mahlengwe is a banker and former Premiership footballer and can be contacted, for feedback, on the e-mail: bmahlengwe.cb@gmail.com

Source : The Herald