ED’s ZEC appointments marred with irregularities and nepotism
The recent appointments of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) commissioners have been marred by shocking irregularities and nepotism.
There was public outcry last week after President Emmerson Mnangagwa appointed Zanu-PF deputy leader Kembo Mohadi’s daughter Abigail Millicent Ambrose as one of the new commissioners.
He also appointed Catherine Mpofu who is believed to be a relative of Zanu-PF secretary for Administration Obert Mpofu.
Jane Mbetu Nzvenga, Kudzai Shava, Rosewita Murutare and Shepard Manhivi were also again sworn in as ZEC Commissioners at State House.
The appointment of Mpofu did not only raise nepotism suspicions but constitutional irregularities as well.
She was a public relations officer of the Parliament of Zimbabwe which makes her a public officer, unfit to be appointed into a commission like ZEC.
Also, the appointment of Manhivi who has been Parliament’s Principal Committee Clerk raised concern. He was a public officer and therefore unfit to be a commissioner of ZEC.
Section 240 of the Electoral Act says “the following persons are ineligible for appointment to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission- a) public officers, other than judges; b) employees of provincial and metropolitan councils and local authorities; and c) members and employees of statutory bodies and government-controlled entities.”
Prominent Zimbabwean activist and information technology expert Freeman Chari condemned the appointment of Mpofu and Manhivi saying the two worked in the office that was charged with accepting the nominations
“I think the appointment of both Shepherd Manhivi and Catherine Mpofu was unconstitutional. Both were public officers according to our constitution. And public officers are ineligible to be appointed to the ZEC,” he said.
“I find it a bit weird that folks who worked in the office that was charged with accepting the nominations are the ones who got appointed. This does not really bode well.”
Political commentator Pedzisai Ruhanya said the appointment of Mohadi’s daughter for example was meant to cause voter apathy ahead of 2023 elections.
“The appointment of Mohadi’s daughter to ZEC is meant to create disinterest in the electoral process leading to voter apathy. Zimbabweans need to be vigilant and show that with or without a captured ZEC they will register, vote and defend their vote in 2023,” he said
ZEC is constitutionally made up of nine commissioners who hold office for a term of six years and can only be renewed once.
Four of them must be women while the Commission is headed by a chairperson and deputy chairperson who are appointed on a full-time basis.
Zimbabwe is set to hold harmonised elections in 2023.