Tuesday 21 February saw the holding of the 38th Annual General Meeting for the Computer Society of Zimbabwe (CSZ) at the Harare Club by the society's executive. The usual agenda was followed and the event went on smoothly. As has been characteristic of a couple of recent AGM's the turnout was very low indicating a low interest in such formal functions by the current membership.
As has also been the trend over the past few years (but may soon change following the on-going resurgence of the society), the first part of the AGM was the 37th Harare Chapter AGM which mainly comprised the Harare Chapter Chairman's report on the year 2011.
The Harare chapter chairman Mr Joseph Muchena outlined how, generally, 2011had been a good year. The Chapter's greatest achievement was to host the 2011 edition of the summer school in Victoria Falls quite successfully registering a record breaking attendance of over 150 delegates. He also extended his gratitude to Bulawayo chapter for their unwavering support and assistance at the event which inevitably cost them the opportunity to actually enjoy the event like the rest of the delegates. The Harare chapter also managed to hold their usual monthly functions where again the levels of attendance by both members and non-members have been on the increase, with the August function being the most attended as the Chapter run out of seats. The particular function was held under the theme Technologies for Future Communication. The Chapter also managed to host the IPMZ to talk about ICT project management, Mr Rashama from the UZ who presented on Entrepreneur Opportunities in the ICT industry, and Faith Nthabeni Bhebhe, who spoke on Stress Management to a very lively and receptive crowd.
The CSZ President, Mr Atwell Mukusha then gave his report of 2011 saying the Society was gaining mileage in the industry through also fostering relationships with other bodies like the Institute of Engineering among others. He expressed a lot of gratitude for the tremendous support that the society was receiving from the Ministry of ICT which had allowed the CSZ to participate in key projects such as the ICT bill and National ICT policy, where there was still a lot of work to be done including consultations with the membership on the policy. It was because of these interactions, and many other efforts on various fronts, that the CSZ, through the President, had received an award termed as Top Businessman of the year Award Runner up for 2011.
A key achievement noted by the president during his report was the successful launch of the CSZ Bulawayo Chapter, a feat that had seen CSZ activities increase in the southern region, culmination with the first Bulawayo ICT Expo in a very long time. The team in Bulawayo is currently being ably led by a team of highly dedicated members with specific mention of the Chairman Mr Mduduzi Gwebu and his deputy, Ms Victoria Phiri. Unfortunately due to a vehicle breakdown the team did not make it in time to let everyone in on what transpired at their recently held AGM.
The incumbent treasurer, Mr Simon Pitt presented the society accounts which showed the Society as having a positive but not very high positive net balance thanks to a successful Summer School which saw the organising committee managing to rope in some significant sponsorship from corporates. On a similar note, the levels of membership were showing a steady and continuous rise over the past few years, a positive sign that provided a source of encouragement. He also included a draft budget for 2012 which reflected a slight increase to annual membership fees for most membership categories. Mr Simon Pete encouraged event organisers to be more careful in their planning and thorough in their execution to avoid pitfalls and losses as had happened with the otherwise successful Bulawayo ICT Expo.
The last part of the AGM included the dissolution of the current council and announcement of newly elected. It is congratulations to Mr Atwell Mukusha, who was re-elected as President, and Mr Lee Taaziva who was re-elected as the CSZ Vice President. Mr Simon Pete also remains the CSZ Treasurer for the year 2012. The rest of council also remained pretty much the same.
Generally, the membership are yet to fully exhibit the same show of ownership and belonging to the society that has seen the CSZ reach unprecedented heights and survive since its inception over 37 years ago. The leadership will have to come up with a strategy that will bring the CSZ fully back to life and this should see members actively vying for office and wanting to be recognised as members. One of the delegates, Past President Mr Danny Zinyengere also felt that the membership fees should be upped significantly, matching the trend in other societies in other countries, in order for the society to be able to sustain its operations and make functions like the Summer School much more affordable for members. This, in our opinion, obviously also implies the benefits for being a member should then be made very clear and real for members to want to part with a higher membership fees.
All the same, we hope 2012 will see a lot more achievements being registered by the CSZ, including higher and more formal interaction levels with the relevant Ministries and government, more marriages with strategic bodies and partners, and well defined significant benefits for the membership as a whole.