Furore over Makarau's poll contract

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has rejected President Robert Mugabe’s plan to appoint the new Zimbabwe Election Commission (Zec) chairperson Justice Rita Makarau in an acting capacity.

Makarau takes over the Zec position that was left vacant after the retirement of Namibia-based High Court judge Simpson Mutambanengwe.

Mugabe’s top negotiator Patrick Chinamasa, the minister of Justice and Legal Affairs was quoted as saying Makarau will be Zec chairperson in an acting capacity until December.

But Tsvangirai says appointing a commissioner to head an important body such as Zec in an acting capacity trivialises the critical role of conducting elections. Zec is the body that is mandated with conducting elections in Zimbabwe.

Alex Magaisa, Tsvangirai’s advisor told the Daily News yesterday that principals to the coalition government, Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara had agreed to the appointment of the highly-respected Supreme Court judge in a full time capacity.

“The principals reached an agreement on the candidate subject to the Constitution procedures which include consulting the Judiciary Services Commission and the parliamentary Committee on Standing Rules and Orders,” Magaisa said.

“The expectation is that the candidate should hold the position on a full time basis and serve the full five-year term.”

“It is important that the position be held on a full time basis as a sign of commitment to Zec and the onerous task that come with that position,” Magaisa said.

“The person in a part time position cannot approach the onerous position at Zec in the same way the person who holds the position on a full time basis does.”

Managerially, Magaisa said it would be a difficult position for an acting chairperson to command commissioners who have been appointed on a full time basis.

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