Zec chairperson returns home

HARARE - Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chief Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe has returned home to prepare for the forthcoming elections.

There was swirling speculation that the Namibian jurist could be replaced after extended period of absenteeism that saw his deputy Joyce Kazembe literally running the show.

Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa on Thursday confirmed Mutambanengwe’s return.

“It is true he is in the country and we have held meetings with him,” Chinamasa said. “He already has meetings lined up with the other commissioners.

“It is the press that has been trying to misinform the people. We never officially announced he had resigned from Zec.”

Curiously, Mutambanengwe did not attend Thursday’s crucial indaba, convened by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to facilitate the provision of financial support for the election commission’s voter registration and education exercise.

There was speculation that former Chief Justice Wilson Sandura was being lined up to replace Mutambanengwe.

Chinamasa denied any knowledge of such moves.

“There was never such a plan,” he said. “It is all wishful thinking. Mutambanengwe was just finishing off a few things he had been assigned by the Namibians and there was never talk of him being reappointed or us replacing him. The media is in the business of appointing and disappointing office bearers.”

Tsvangirai’s spokesperson William Bango also denied reports of moves to replace the Zec chairperson.

“That is speculation and nothing more,” Bango said. “There were never any such moves and if it was there the Prime Minister was never part of that. It is also a fact that he chaired a Zec meeting as lately as this year.”

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