Zimbabwe Electoral Commission boss resigns

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By Lance Guma

HARARE – The chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Retired Justice Simpson Victor Mutambanengwe has resigned effectively handing over control to his deputy Joyce Kazembe, a well-known Mugabe sympathiser.

Justice Mutambanengwe
Justice Mutambanengwe

According to Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa “Retired Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe tendered his resignation from the chairmanship of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission today (yesterday),” citing health reasons.

Chinamasa said the resignation is with effect from February 20 and his replacement would be announced after the completion of consultations. Its expected Zanu PF will try and bulldoze Kazembe to head the commission.

“For the meantime, I am consulting with the three principals to the Global Political Agreement on a suitable replacement. The public will be informed about the new replacement when a decision has been reached,” Chinamasa said.

ZEC deputy chairperson Joyce Kazembe
Joyce Kazembe

Justice Mutambanengwe was appointed ZEC chairperson in March 2010. But as Nehanda Radio exclusively revealed then, his health problems during his tenure meant Kazembe was effectively in charge of the electoral commission.

Kazembe has been with the ZEC for over 15 years and has been involved in over 5 disputed elections which Mugabe won. She was part of the discredited election commission, headed by retired brigadier general George Chiweshe.

That commission withheld presidential election results for weeks in March 2008, amid reports the period was used to manipulate and massage the figures that denied Morgan Tsvangirai an outright victory over a shocked Mugabe.