Chigumba promises free, fair polls

HARARE - High Court Judge Priscilla Chigumba was sworn in yesterday as head of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) following Rita Makarau’s surprise resignation in December.

The departure of Makarau, a judge of the Supreme Court and chairperson of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), came a few weeks after former president Robert Mugabe had resigned and a few months before the country holds key general elections.

Chigumba raised the Bible as she took the oath of office at State House yesterday, administered by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in front of Zec commissioners, Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo, and a few members of the president’s staff.

Zimbabwe will hold elections in four to five months, according to Mnangagwa, who said the poll would be transparent.

Asked after the swearing-in ceremony if she will address accusations of bias on the part of Zec, Chigumba said: “Certainly, yes, we will look into those issues because it is our intention to deliver a credible election.

“…My mandate is just to be an umpire and to ensure that there is fairness in the process of Zimbabweans electing their leaders. So it’s a very clear mandate and I intend to discharge it fully.”

She said she was ready for the high-pressure job.

“I can never be daunted when the law is certain because my mandate is very clear, it’s just to administer the law, to apply the law which exists at this point in time and as a judge, I do that on a daily basis, so there is nothing daunting,” Chigumba said boldly, adding she will carry out her mandate without any interference as provided for in the Constitution of Zimbabwe and other electoral laws.

“It is a great honour and privilege to be asked to serve one’s country in this capacity as the chairperson of Zec and I promise the Zimbabwean people that I will deliver a free, fair and credible election.”

The High Court judge said she will treat all stakeholders in a fair manner and will thrive to maintain an open door policy.
Mnangagwa said he settled for Chigumba after consultation with Parliament’s Standing Rules and Orders committee, the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda and the JSC.

Chigumba served as a resident magistrate and provincial magistrate before being seconded to work as a senior professional research assistant in the Office of the Chief Justice before she was sworn in as Judge of the High Court on December 20, 2011.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network has called upon the newly-appointed chairperson to spearhead the requisite legislative and administrative reforms to ensure that the 2018 elections are, free, fair and credible.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association has also welcomed the appointment of Chigumba saying it brings the required certainty in the running and supervision of crucial electoral processes, especially ahead of the 2018 harmonised elections.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.