DCCs continue to exist at law

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IN this fourth part of his article on the topical issue of President Robert Mugabe’s succession, Derek Matyszak looks at the influential administrative and co-ordinating bodies within Zanu PF — how they are constituted, their functions and duties.  

 

Administrative and co-ordinating bodies
In addition to elected components, a hierarchy of three bodies exists with administrative and co-ordinating functions. These bodies comprise partly elected and partly ex-officio members, who may themselves be drawn from elected bodies. The ex-officio groupings often constitute a substantial portion of the membership of each.

 
The districts referred to earlier were clustered according to the administrative district into which they fell and operated under the aegis of district co-ordinating committees (DCCs), which was the lowest tier of the administrative and co-ordinating bodies.

 
Immediately after the first draft of this article was completed, Zanu PF announced the central committee had disbanded DCCs. However, as amendments to the Zanu PF constitution by the central committee are “subject to ratification by congress”, this body continues to exist de jure (at law) until such ratification. The DCCs form part of the congress and it will be interesting to see if Zanu PF excludes their members prior to ratification. The DCCs remain included in this article so that the effect of their dissolution may be noted. The DCCs were intended to co-ordinate the activities of all the party districts in the administrative district under their purview. There are currently 60 rural administrative districts and 29 urban ones.

 
Thus, in terms of the Zanu PF constitution, there should have been 89 DCCs. Each DCC was “elected by such number of delegates as may be determined by the central committee from time to time, from the party districts in each administrative district at a conference called for that purpose”. The election ought to have taken place every three years. However, a large component of the DCCs comprised ex-officio members. Only 13 members are elected. The remainder of each DCC comprised:
i) All members of the central committee from that administrative district;
ii) All members of the national consultative assembly from that administrative district;
iii) All members of the province from that administrative district;
iv) All party Members of Parliament from that administrative district;
v) The chairperson of the war veterans association in that administrative district;
i) The chairperson of the Zimbabwe Ex-Political Prisoners and Restrictees Association in that administrative district;
vi) The chairperson of the War Collaborators Association in that administrative district.

 
There is also a provincial co-ordinating committee (PCC) for each province. It is headed by the chairperson of the provincial executive council, described as the chairman of the province, and meets at least once every three months.
The PCC is an extremely important body, as will be seen, and comprises:
i) The provincial executive council;
ii) Members of the central committee in the province;
iii) Members of the national consultative assembly in the province;
iv) The provincial executive committee of the women’s league;
v) The provincial executive committee of the youth league;
vi) Party MPs from the province; and
vii) The chairpersons of DCCs from the province.
The function of the PCC is to act as the elections directorate of the province, to monitor and recommend any political or development programmes and initiatives in the province, and to foster an integrated approach to provincial issues between party, government and non-governmental organisations. Most importantly, the PCCs effectively elect the Zanu PF presidium, which heads the central committee.
The central committee is the principal organ of the national people’s congress, a body described in the Zanu PF constitution as “the supreme policy-making organ of the party”. Since the congress only convenes once every five years in regular session, and the central committee performs its policy-making powers when it is not in session, it is an extremely important component of the Zanu PF structure. The party constitution states that the central committee has 245 members, but the sum of the members of the central committee then listed amounts to only 240 members.
These members are as follows:
i) The president and first secretary;
ii) Two vice-presidents and second secretaries one of whom shall be a woman;
iii) The national chairman of the party.
iv) 130 members nominated by the PCCs on a pro rata basis according to the national census figures of each province and in such a manner that each administrative district has at least one member appointed to the central committee.
v) The secretary for women’s affairs;
vi) The secretary for youth affairs;
vii) 34 members representing the women’s and youth leagues nominated by the leagues at the national women’s and youth conference;
viii) 10 members nominated by the presidency “on account of their outstanding contribution to either the armed liberation struggle of the country and/or its development after Independence”;
ix) 10 chairpersons of the provinces who shall be ex-officio members;
x) 50 members who shall be women allocated to the provinces in such a way and manner that each province shall have five members.
It is not stated by whom such allocation is made, but this is probably by the PCC.

 
The function of the central committee is described as being to:
i) Make rules, regulations and procedures to govern the conduct of the party and its members;
ii) Implement all policies, resolutions, directives, decisions and programmes enunciated by congress including to give directions, supervise and superintend all the functions of central government in relation to these programmes;
iii) Set up party organs, committees, institutions, commissions and enterprises in the name and on behalf of the party;
iv) Convene congress in ordinary and/or extraordinary session and formulate the agenda, procedures and regulations for business of congress;
v) Amend the constitution, if deemed necessary, subject to ratification by congress.
During the sitting of congress, the party president appoints from the central committee 19 persons to head each of the departments of congress and 19 deputies to each. These executive posts roughly match the executive positions noted in respect of the elected and co-coordinating bodies, though several additional departments have been established. The intention seems to be to create positions which accord with governmental ministries and positions.
— To be continued next week.

  • Matyszak is a former University of Zimbabwe law lecturer, constitutional expert and researcher with Research and Advocacy Unit.

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