By Bridget Mananavire
Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has asked Parliament to retire Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede on the grounds he has long passed the retirement age.
As first reported by the Daily News last month, government is violating public service regulations by keeping in its employ bureaucrats who are way past their pensionable age.
Topping the list is Mudede, who is 74 years of age.
Mudede has been in charge of all elections held in Zimbabwe since 1981, amid accusations by the ruling Zanu PF’s rivals of ballot fraud favouring the governing party.
The country’s electoral processes are, however, now being overseen by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, headed by Justice Rita Makarau.
Harare West MDC legislator Jessie Majome asked the Home Affairs minister to notify the National Assembly just before it adjourned for three weeks when the Registrar–General was born and if he is above the age of 65 years, why has he not retired from the Civil Service.
Home Affairs deputy minister Obedingwa Mguni said: “Thank you very much Hon. Member for your question. However, this issue lies in the hands of the Public Service Commission. Those are the people who are running the ages, retrenchment and everything to do with employment.”
Civil service regulations on pensionable age and retirement, state that a member appointed on pensionable terms of service before May 1, 1992, shall have a pensionable age of 65 years, while those appointed afterwards shall have a pensionable age of 60.
The regulations also provide that the “paymaster shall, on the 1st (of) June each year, provide all heads of ministry or department with a list of members who will reach the age of 55, 60 or 65 years during the ensuing year.”
Mudede has been in the eye of a storm after saying only holders of machine readable plastic identity cards will be able to register to vote, while those with metal cards would be excluded.
Zimbabweans on micro-blogging site Twitter slammed Mudede for trying to cause confusion in the voting process.
Brian Makamure who uses the twitter handle @mukwidigwi wrote: “Mudede is just a past his best-by date beaurucrat looking for relevance. Stick to family planning issues man.”
Former MDC minister Jameson Timba said on Twitter: “Tobaiwa Mudede must not be allowed anywhere near anything remotely called an election. Even for a burial society election.”
@BelieveCitizen wrote: “Civic society should push for the retirement of Tobaiwa Mudede. The clown, I believe, is over the retirement age of 65.”
Another Twiiter user by the handle @mmatigary: “Mudede’s story about metal IDs, if true, shows he is a mental now. By issuing statements he has no authority to, Mudede caused alarm & despondency. He must be arrested.” Daily News