By Anna Chibamu
THE Election Resource Centre (ERC) has warned the newly appointed Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) commissioners to shun partisanship and be independent in the discharge of their duties.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa swore in six commissioners – Catherine Mpofu, Abigail Millicent Mohadi Ambrose, Jane Mbetu Nzvenga, Kudzai Shava, Rosewita Murutare and Shepard Manhivi – to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
The six replaced members whose term of office ended on July 6.
The development came at a time the Commission is preparing to carry out the delimitation of constituencies ahead of the crunch 2023 general elections.
In a statement released soon after the swearing ceremony at State House in Harare, ERC insisted that the Commissioners should be “transparent, non-partisan and independent”.
“… the ERC encourages the Commissioners to conduct their duties in a non-partisan and independent manner as stipulated by the Constitution and in line with their oath of office,” said the organisation.
“In an environment marred by a ZEC credibility crisis, the ERC reminds the newly appointed Commissioners’ that their mandate is to ensure that elections are conducted efficiently, freely, transparently and in accordance with Constitution, Regional and International principles binding free and fair elections.”
The presence, among the new commissioners of Abigail Millicent Mohadi Ambrose, daughter of Zanu PF vice president Kembo Mohadi has outraged the opposition.
“The constitution explicitly required ZEC to be independent and non-partisan,” said opposition Citizens Coalition for Change spokesperson Fadzai Mahere.
“This flagrant appearance of bias violated the constitutional imperative. The appointment must be rescinded forthwith.
“The unacceptable appearance of Zanu PF bias is impossible to shake off in the circumstances.
“Rest assured, we will challenge this as we continue to fight for electoral reforms ahead of the landmark elections in 2023,” said Mahere.
Government spokesperson Nick Mangwana refuted the allegations of ZEC basis.
“Children and relatives of high profile people have the right to employment and service to their country as everyone else. That’s why it’s called equal opportunities,” said Mangwana.