Dear Justice Makarau
I WRITE this open letter to you in my capacity as a concerned Zimbabwean patriot and also as one of your learned friends. I hope I find you well.
I have known you since the early 1980s when both of us were law students at the University of Zimbabwe. You were a few years ahead of my stream. I have nothing but absolute respect for you as an individual, a lawyer and a jurist. You have distinguished yourself as a legal practitioner and your record as a jurist is impeccable.
When you were appointed chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) a few years ago, I was very pleased and, in fact, I was convinced that you were going to clean up the mess at ZEC and that you would, in your typical hardworking manner, ensure that the organisation would promptly regain its lost respect and integrity.
As Judge President of the High Court of Zimbabwe, you had clearly distinguished yourself as a no-nonsense administrator who wouldn’t tolerate sloppiness, laziness, inefficiency, incompetence and corruption.
I appreciated the fact that your new assignment at the ZEC was a political powder keg in view of the sensitivity and importance of the ZEC in ensuring that the ruling political establishment remained firmly ensconced at State House.
But, knowing you as I do, I nevertheless expected you to take the bull by the horns and to hit the ground running; making sure, in the process, that the ZEC would be cleansed and that it would become a truly independent and professional electoral management body.
I knew that several spanners would be thrown in the works but, being the Iron Lady that I knew you to be, I was absolutely convinced that you would discharge your new duties at the ZEC diligently, without fear and or favour.
The main challenge at the ZEC is that you inherited a highly militarised secretariat that was also packed with several high-ranking State intelligence operatives. This was the type of secretariat that was accustomed to a military and commandist style of administration and management. They were used to taking orders from certain shadowy bosses and to execute the same without question and or interrogation.
When I was the MDC-T deputy chief presidential election agent in the July 31, 2013 elections, I attended several meetings that you chaired. I could sense that there was an element of uneasiness in the manner in which you would tackle “hot” topics particularly to do with the electronic voters’ roll as well as the special vote by members of the police and other security services.Advertisement
I could clearly observe that something was seriously amiss. It was apparent that you were now reporting to certain shadowy political forces that were now in de facto control of the operations of the ZEC. On more occasions that one, I felt pity for you because of this.
That said, I still expected you to firmly stand your ground (as is usual with you) and to refuse to be manipulated by unprofessional and shadowy political forces. Little did I realise that this was a high stakes game. The fate of the ruling elite was now basically in your hands and the establishment would not allow you to discharge your duties honourably and professionally.
To this very day, the ZEC secretariat remains populated with military and State security personnel. I know, for certain, that you are clearly powerless to change the status quo. The powers that be would never allow you to effectively and transparently clean up the mess at the ZEC. The political stakes are just too high. They are not prepared to take such a risk.
As your learned colleague, I hereby kindly call upon you to search your conscience and make a decision whether it is worth your while to retain your job as the ZEC chairperson. You have an otherwise impeccable professional reputation to protect and I know that in your heart of hearts, you are not enjoying your job as the top dog at the ZEC.
All things being equal, I know that one day, very soon, you will find it fit and proper not to continue to be associated with the insipid rot at the ZEC.
Obert Chaurura Gutu