Opposition guns for Zec's Makarau

HARARE - Opposition parties are upping the ante in their determined bid to force the government to institute much-needed electoral reforms ahead of the 2018 national elections, while demanding that Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Rita Makarau cease to hold two roles which they claim could cost them in the event of an election dispute.

Makarau chairs Zec on a part-time basis while holding a full-time position of secretary to the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) — the appointing body for judiciary officials which also assigns and sets their conditions of service.

Opposition parties coalescing under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera), who are pushing for a raft of electoral reforms, said yesterday that they also wanted Zec’s secretariat to be reconstituted, claiming that it was packed with Zanu PF apparatchiks.

The spokespersons for the MDC and the Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) told the Daily News in separate interviews that Makarau had to cease holding the two key positions because if there was an election dispute, it would be difficult for them to have a fair hearing at the superior courts.

“It has always been an anomalous situation for Makarau to be a Supreme Court judge and secretary to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), whilst at the same time she is the Zec chairperson. She cannot and indeed, should not have her legs in two baskets.

“Election results can be challenged and election disputes might even end up in court, where she is a member of the bench. This is not just clumsy, it is in direct conflict with the basic tenets of good corporate governance and international best practice. She has to choose one of the two. She can’t have it both ways,” MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said.

On its part, ZPF said Makarau’s “untenable position” was akin to her being both the match referee and the match commissioner in the current situation.

“The JSC has the mandate to constitute an electoral court which presides over poll disputes and she can create her mess at Zec and when people complain she can be accused of working to clean that through the Electoral Court,” spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire said.

“What we are saying is that she has to choose between the two posts. That is one of the major issues we have with Zec. Our lawyers under the auspices of Nera are working on a court challenge. We are of the view that it is a winnable court challenge,” he added.

Opposition parties have consistently accused Zec of being sympathetic to President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF.

They also claim that the Zec secretariat, in its current form, is susceptible to manipulating the ballot as was claimed in 2008 when the national elections’ management body delayed announcing the results of the presidential poll by six weeks, after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai beat Mugabe hands down.

Under the Nera platform, opposition parties have been holding several peaceful demonstrations until police recently invoked provisions of the draconian Public Order and Security Act which outlawed such protests in central Harare.

Comments (8)

Zvavana RITA MAKARAU Hazvishandi they are PARTSAN.......Their post must be abolished totaly ....All participating parties should sit it the new ZAC BOARD Each political part 5 people to temporaly assined to work in the new zac board and crafty all requirement including mgt a new voters roll......no pay to this service a voluntary work asigned by their relevent political parties,,,,,,The Rita makarau board must be banned......under all cost opposition parties should refuse to paticipate for election which they are not part and parcel of ....opposition politcal parties must be involed from balot paper preparation....voter registration,education...counting and tallying of all results and aounsing of all results before anounsing all political parties must aprove the announsment everything together no more using these partsan bodies...where the ruling part can give instruction privetely to these bodies/zac while opposition is bared even to enter in these premises /or suggest anything let do our own way together if not lets invite UN,EU and call international AUDITORS TO RUN OUR ELECTIONS NOT THIS BOGUS ZAC AND PARTSAN AND THEN WHO EVER WIN NO NEGATIVE PABULICITY TO OUR NATION ANY MORE WE NE TO PROSPER AS A COUNTRY NOT BE UNDER SANCTIONS AGAIN...LET GO FOR THIS...

dofo - 1 November 2016

For goodness sake how many times in the last 20 years have we discussed reforming the electoral process demanding reforms and assurities of fair play only to be let down every time. Only the insane and perhaps ZANU PF wll believe such lies. All of s have to wake up now, stop listening to these lies and demand UN intervention. SADC has proved to be biased in favor of Mugabe even when the vote rigging was blatant - we just cannot rely on them anymore for fair judgement, we hve to plead to the UN. I beg this of every poor suffering Zimbabwean....please wake up.

Mbewa - 1 November 2016

Jusrtice Rita is highly conflicted on this one. Thought it would be common cause for a person of a lawyer who usually dazzles us as a fountain of legal wisdom. She is highly conflicted and its the worst corruption ever to be exhibited at such sacrosanct institutional levels.

Advocate - 1 November 2016

The opposition is taking too long to have these reforms actioned, they just too soft to cause any meaning change. Makarau should have left ZEC a long time ago.

snailpace - 2 November 2016

Rita Makarau betrayed all Zimbabweans for a piece of land that he got from ZANU PF and allowed them to rig the elections. She never spoke of the stuffed ballot boxes, the rampant intimidation of the opposition. The least she could do was to announce results which she pretty knew were not the one that represented the will of the people, her lips dry and pretend all is well. Justice Mutambanengwe did good think, felt the heat and pending manipulation from ZANU PF, military and the CIO and stepped down. You betrayed big time. When you die, your soul will not rest in heal, accepting fault results, betrayed even the unborn kids, whose parents had died at the hand of militant, ZANU PF but you pronounced those flawed and rigged elections as fair.

amina - 2 November 2016

same old stories.every 5 yrs .election time.

runde - 2 November 2016

At the risk of repeating myself, all of us through painful experience should by now realize after witnessing two stolen elections plus all the intimidation that went with it that while ZANU PF are in control there is absolutely zero chance of any free and fair elections simply because playing fairly just is not part of their makeup. Forget about demanding reforms because by now all of us know that they might agree to it but have no intention whatsoever of changing their election rules? Why can't people see through this ZANU PF and realize that absolutely nothing they say can be believed? If we don't change our strategy by demanding the presence of the UN who must supervise and monitor the next elections then we are finished and we can look forward to far worse to come. Let us not dilly dally about - let us all stay focused on demanding the presence of the UN here in Zimbabwe. It can be done provided we pressure all the Human Rights groups, the Churches and responsible African leaders to back our call. Wake up Zimbabwe.

Mbewa - 2 November 2016

especally you Rita Mukaraduzvi you are in big trouble, you will tell us a lot about these rigging idiots who are arrogant for nothing. you will answer fopr something you do not even know because you are the face of rigging

rovai - 2 November 2016

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