Zimbabwe has a population of around 13 million people. Of this population, 75% to 80% live in rural areas. The 60 Rural District Councils (RDCs) are responsible for the welfare and the general socio-economic development of these people.
Every single day these same councils make decisions that impact significantly on the lives of their respective citizens. Councillors and Council Officials spend much time and effort on consulting and working together with ordinary citizens, entrepreneurs and a great number of local organisations in order to serve theirRural District Councils have a need for consultation, research and guidance, whether in preparing their long term plans and carrying out their daily duties. The Association of Rural District Councils (ARDCZ) plays a crucial role in providing such information and advice.
The ARDCZ is a body corporate recognised by the Rural District Councils Act 29:13 which forms the legal basis of rural self-governance in the country. It was established in July 1993 following the abolition of the dual and racially based system of Rural Councils and District Councils that had formed Zimbabwe’s rural local government system since before independence.
The Association’s vision is that of a nation of democratic, efficient, effective, accountable and transparent, economically and socially viable local governments.
To advance and safeguard the rights, powers and duties enjoyed by the Rural District Councils and to promote local government and its role in development and service provision
In pursuance of its mission the Association of Rural District Councils of Zimbabwe (ARDCZ) acknowledges the following broad objectives:
Enhancing the role and status of Rural District Councils.
Transforming local government in rural Zimbabwe to enable it to fulfil its developmental role.
Ensuring the full participation of women in local government affairs.
Strengthening the relevance of national policy affecting local government.
The ARDCZ also assumes responsibility for:
The affairs of the Association are governed by the Congress which consists of:
The Congress meets every two years at a time and place fixed at the preceding meeting of Congress. It is the ultimate authority within the Association, especially on matters of policy.
The Executive comprises the President and two Vice-Presidents of the Association plus eight provincial representatives. The Executive endeavours by all constitutional means to effect any recommendations of Congress and generally to take such action as may further the interests of the Association or any of its members. It is also entrusted with the management of all funds and assets of the Association.
The specific powers granted to the Executive by the constitution of the ARDCZ include the following:
In order to guide the operations of the Association, the Executive has appointed a sub-committee, comprising the President, the Vice-Presidents and the Chief Executive Officer and known as the Presidential Committee. This committee meets quarterly.
The day to day management of the Association is the responsibility of the Chief Executive Officer who is the General Secretary of the Association in terms of the constitution.
In order to meet its objectives the Association is engaged in a wide range of programmes and activities and these can be divided into three major areas: communication and provision of services.
Promoting Members’ Interests
Keeping in touch with Government
In order to carryout their tasks properly, RDC need to collaborate with other branches of government and social organisations. For this reason, the ARDCZ has built up an extensive network of relations. The ARDCZ secretariat devotes a great deal of time to contacts with central government, parliament, the private sector, other interest groups and the external support agencies. In addition, the Association is actively involved in the preparation of government policy by being a member of several government task teams. The Association believes that to be actively involved in the preparation of government policy makes it easier for RDCs to manage regulations and legislation.