FAZ has said it will hold the AGM on the 31st of March, 2018. Mukoka has highlighted provisions that the new constitution demands to hold an AGM.
There is no information from Football House on the way it will arrange the number of delegates in line with the new constitution its members passed last year.
BELOW IS THE WRITE-UP
A PROPER OR AN IMPROPERLY CALLED FAZ AGM: WHERE ARE THE 40 DELEGATES COMING FROM?
By Augustine Mukoka
Ponga Liwewe, the FAZ general secretary, recently sent out a circular announcing March 31st as the date for the 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM).
This is the first AGM FAZ will conduct under the new constitution.
A non-elective AGM such as this one should ordinarily pass without so much attention because its agenda is an academic exercise.
However, what distinguishes the forthcoming AGM from an ordinary non-elective meeting is how FAZ conducts its meeting under the new constitution.
This is the first AGM following the adoption of the 2017 constitution which significantly alters the structure of the FAZ Council, the supreme decision-making body of the association.
Another important issue on the table is the expulsion of former vice-president Richard Kazala and committee member Blackwell Siwale as directed by the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS).
Kazala and Siwale contested their expulsion and CAS found the decision of councilors wanting on account that the principles of natural justice were not satisfied, or put differently, their side of the story was not heard by the Council.
WHAT IS THE COMPOSITION OF THE NEW LOOK FAZ COUNCIL?
This is perhaps the most interesting question ahead of the meeting.
Not all FAZ councilors, as the case was last year and before, will attend the meeting.
Article 22 of the new FAZ constitution restricts the composition of the Council to 138 officials, 89 of which are voting delegates.
The 89 delegates are the ones who will this time decide Kazala and Siwale’s fate. The numbers will not read two hundred and something against zero whichever way the outcome goes.
WHO ARE THE CHOSEN 89?
Article 22 (1) (a)-(j) determines the composition of the FAZ Council.
The same provision also distributes the 89 votes (in fact 88 although the constitution defies numbering to insists on 89).
The 20 Super League teams each have one vote and are allowed two delegates while Division One which has 32 teams/clubs is also allocated the same number of votes and 40 delegates.
All the member associations of FAZ namely referees, coaches, futsal, beach, higher education, schools, women and player association send two delegates, but each have one vote.
Of interest in this equation is article 22 (d) which releases a block 40 votes to regional leagues.
The regional leagues are in essence the 10 provinces where majority of affiliates belong to lower leagues – division two, three and four (if it exists).
For ease of reference, article 22 (d) provides, “40 delegates representing the regional leagues who shall have 40 votes distributed equally among the regions with each region represented by 4 delegates and 4 votes.”
WHO ARE THESE 40 REGIONAL DELEGATES?
In establishing the delegates’ list (and the Electoral College), the FAZ constitution prescribes that such nomination can only be conferred as per article 22 (2) on individuals who “belong to the member that they represent and be APPOINTED or ELECTED by the appropriate body of that member.”
The understanding is that all FAZ delegates must either be appointed or elected to qualify for accreditation to the Council.
And the authority to appoint or elect delegates to the Council is not vest in a single individual at FAZ or any of its bodies. I
n a nutshell, all FAZ delegates must belong to a member body that they will be representing.
Therefore, an appropriate body of that member association assumes the sole responsibility to appoint or elect delegates to the FAZ Council as stipulated by the constitution
WHO THEN IS A FAZ MEMBER?
According to the new FAZ constitution, there are only 11 members of FAZ.
Article 10 (1)(a)(-k) lists these members as Super League, Division One, the women’s and regional (provincial) leagues.
Others are associations organizing futsal, beach soccer, referees, coaches, players, higher education and schools.
By definition, it is the appropriate bodies (i.e executive committees, owners or secretariats) of these member association that appoint or elect delegates to the FAZ Council.
Any composition of the FAZ Council without express authority from these bodies renders the legitimacy of such an AGM questionable.
One thing any responsible FAZ leadership would seek to avoid is convene an improper AGM when under the strict watch of international sports legal bodies as CAS.
WHAT IS THE STATUS OF THE 2018 AGM?
The FAZ secretariat has issued a circular to all affiliates which meets the requisite 60-day notice.
Word among affiliates, however, is that the FAZ secretariat will nominate (or has nominated) delegates from regional leagues based on their team’s performance in the league last season.
Therein rests the challenge.
While having access to education is a universal human right, the same cannot be said about passing an examination in school.
This analogy is not too distant from the correct representation of circumstances prevailing at Football House in structuring the composition of this year’s Council.
Winning the league does not give a FAZ affiliate any more rights than those who finish bottom of the log.
If that was the case, clubs like Zesco United, Zanaco, Power Dynamos, Green Buffaloes, Nkana, Mufulira Wanderers would be the major if not the only decision makers in football. Not Monze Swallows, Lumwana Radiants or Kascol Rangers.
All the affiliates of FAZ are equal before the laws of the game irrespective of their performance in a particular season. So, form can’t determine participation in an important gathering such as an AGM.
And constituting a FAZ Council based on achievement goes against the provisions of the FAZ constitution.
The FAZ secretariat or the executive committee may argue that transitory provisions in the new constitution provide an exception.
That is a good scapegoat but can or will only apply in circumstances dimmed impractical. FAZ has had more than eight solid months (mind you the executive meets every month) even on an interim basis to constitute a legitimate Council as prescribed by the constitution.
Relying on transitory provisions only opens up the FAZ executive to legal challenges especially when you have such an article that places emphasis on the independence of its members and their bodies stating in 17(1), “…each member shall manage its affairs independently and with no influence from third parties.”
A council comprising 40 members appointed by the FAZ secretariat, whose CEO is an appointee as per constitution of the sitting president, is not far from compromise.
It will not be unusual for delegates to the Council to owe their allegiance to the appointing authority so that they are favoured ahead of others to make it to the next AGM.
This is the more reason FAZ must constitute the 2018 AGM free of any influence from the executive and the secretariat.
It’s the councilors right to attend the AGM and the only way they will be party to the new structure is if they chose their representatives as prescribed by the constitution.
If transparency is anywhere on the agenda of the current FAZ executive, the right thing to do is openly reveal the identity of the 40 delegates and explain the selection criteria. Does it satisfy the provisions of the FAZ constitution? If not, the 2018 AGM will be improperly constituted council and its decisions subject to nullification.