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I won’t resign, says elections chief Makarau

15/11/2016 00:00:00
by Anna Chibamu
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JUSTICE Rita Makarau has rejected claims of conflict of interest between her job as Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairperson and her role as secretary of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

Opposition parties and political commentators have long demanded that the top court judge relinquish one of the roles.

Asked about the criticism in Harare Tuesday, Makarau said she does not see the claimed conflict of interest.

“Why I am holding on is that I do not see the conflict of interest being talked about. If I had seen that conflict, believe me, I would have stepped down.”

She said those uncomfortable with her dual roles should raise the “issue in the right forum”.

There have been concerns that if electoral disputes are raised in the courts, Makarau might influence the cases she is also the JSC boss.

Makarau, who has been shortlisted for the Chief Justice position early next year, insisted that she would not give in to unfounded allegations.

“I do not believe that I am compromised and will not step down because I do not see the compromise,” Makarau said.

However, political commentators believe she is heavily compromised and biased in favour of Zanu PF and President Robert Mugabe – the appointing authority for her two jobs.

Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) director Pedzisai Ruhanya said Justice Makarau is a product of Mugabe’s regime.

“She cannot claim to be an independent judge because of her romance with the system, especially with Robert Mugabe.

“There is something that we do not understand between the President and Rita. Either she is a relative or an ally of Mugabe himself.”

Ruhanya said Makarau must choose between the two posts especially now that she is eyeing the top judiciary post in the country.

Despite the criticism, Makarau said she believes she was running ZEC in a “professional and credible manner”, adding that “stakeholders must have trust and confidence in the elections management body”. 


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