Rita Makarau for Zec top post

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara have settled for Judicial Service Commission (JSC) chairperson Rita Makarau to take over as the new chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).

Though the principals are yet to make an official announcement of the new Zec boss, impeccable government sources yesterday said Makarau, a former High Court Judge President and Supreme Court judge, would take over following consensus among GPA Principals.

On Monday, Tsvangirai declined to name the new Zec boss saying he/she was yet to be notified of the proposal and it would not be fair for the person to learn of the appointment through the Press.

The hunt for a new Zec boss followed last week’s retirement of Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe — reportedly on medical grounds.
Several names have been peddled as probable successors, among them former Supreme Court judge, Justice Wilson Sandura and former Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission chairman Reginald Austin.

“Makarau is the new chairperson agreed to by the principals,” a highly placed government source said, adding that unless something drastic came up, Makarau was soon to take up the hot seat at the electoral commission.

Another source also confirmed Makarau as the new Zec chairperson, but said one political party was pushing for High Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu to take over.

Sources from Zanu PF and the MDC-T, however, said they were comfortable with Makarau as a “politically correct” choice to take over Zec.

Born on 7 December 1960, Makarau is a former law lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe.  In 2006, she was appointed Judge President before moving to the Supreme Court.

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38 Comments

  1. Phunyukabemphethe

    I don’t know much about her, but does she have Gukurahundi tendencies?

    1. Mntanendoda Ndlunkulu

      How else could she have been appointed to the bench in those days when Prof Johnso was lording it over Zim if she wasnt? Like Ben Hlatshwayo, she was plucked from the classroom for a purpose…to help the Zanu cause! And do not forget her failure to put Idiot Kunonga in his place when she had an opportunity to. Its another of Zanu’s grand plan of self preservation, and their chief whip, Chemabhebhi is pushing them on

  2. She appears to be sober!!

    1. Phunyukabemphethe

      Lets hope so. Any wiff of a Gukurahundism smell would render her a joke and an irrelevance!

    2. very sober and balanced too.

  3. Tell us a little bit more about Justice Nikurau and while you are it, tell us about the other ZEC commissioners as well.

  4. josefa chinotimba

    I need to find out also if she is not linked to some zanupf thugs.

  5. An own goal for Tsvangirayi. If matters come to a head Makarau will do zanu pf’s bidding.Mudenda zanu pf at HRC and Makarau zanu pf at ZEC. I just hope Save has something up his sleeve bcoz if we fail to reddem this country this time around it bcomes a banana republic. Bob wiil retire soon after ‘wining’ and hand over power to someone who will want to preserve the intrests of those who have looted this country since independence.

    1. morgiza wakutamba nesu manje why kubvumira stuch suppoters ezanu pf to lead very important organisations, Save Morg apa matiwanzira

  6. this country s leaders seem to be agreeing on everything since the draft constitution,i have never seen such smooth sailing,GOOD asi hatindi kunzwa unwe akuchema mangwana,

    1. say that again Simba.

  7. ndakubata mbonisi

    mbonisi ndamubata, radzoka zimunhu riye rave kunzi Phunyukabemphethe

  8. Caught flat footed, tsvangison now under control Makarau good for Zanu Pf thats the game of politics.

  9. Welcome Aboard Sister Rita

  10. I dont trust ladies when it comes to matters of this nature,will she able to resist ZPF pressure of rigging,,remember 2008 Chiweshe being followed by C10,hino vakadzi nekutya plus kukwirisa,,Tsvangson airasa.Heard kuti this Makarau lady is of loose morals and paakamboita Non Constituent MP there was a ZPF guy airova makumbo,,the ZPF guys is nomore but dont realy know kuti ndian,,anyone with facts???

    1. What are you implying?????? That we are not capable?

  11. i think Rita is sober just like Mutambanengwe.i will write her history on this page soon.maybe and only maybe zanu intimidate or buy her because women are too afraid of death threats.

  12. Justice Makarau became Zimbabwe’s first female Judge President in 2006. Now she sits on the Supreme Court Bench and judges do not come finer than she is. Though not perfect as all human beings are prone to err, her interpretation of the law has been impressive in a number of cases.

    Rita Makarau- as Secretary of Judicial Services Commmission inspecting a police display-photo credit The Herald Zimbabwe

    As the Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission she fights for justice to be accessible to all, in all parts of the country. Justice Makarau is and has been very vocal about the under appreciation of the fact that the judiciary must be an integral but independent part of the state with the Executive (President and Cabinet) and the Legislature (House of Assembly-parliament and Senate) being the other two important branches in the trio. In her speech opening the 2007 legal year, Justice Makarau is on record to have said,

    “Judging from the paltry funds that are allocated to it [the judiciary], it is my view that the place and role of the judiciary in this country is under-appreciated. Phrases that it is the third pillar of state or that it is an integral part of a democratic state are often used as appropriated fora by politicians and social scientists and have become clichés whose real meaning is not sought after or given effect to.”

    She has over the years identified the under-resourcing of the judiciary as one of the crucial factors undermining the delivery of justice with limited funds for witness upkeep, for the court to hold its hearings known as circuits in provincial towns, for the remuneration of judges and for the support staff which has led to increased corruption in the judicial service.

    It is largely believed that her removal from the High Court where she was the leading authority, to the Supreme Court where she is just another Justice of Appeal headed by a Chief Justice whose independence has always been known to be non existent but whose partisanship is his trademark, was actually a demotion. During her tenure as Judge President of the High Court, Justice Makarau stood her ground in maintaining the independence of the High Court. In fact, under her leadership the High Court had made great strides in rebuilding its immunity from partisanship, external influence and political arm-twisting.

    The list of her achievements could fill a book but her most celebrated decisions include her ruling in Muswere vs Makanza, where the law provided was skewed towards the exclusion of women from owning property upon the dissolution of marriage. In her judgement Justice Makarau unequivocally stated that;

    “… it presents itself clearly to me that as the position at law that a wife in the position of Mrs Makanza (defendant) has no real right in immovable property that is registered in her husband’s sole name even if she directly and indirectly contributed towards the acquisition of that property. Her rights in relation to that property are limited [and] subservient to the real rights of her husband as owner of the property.”

    She declared the law “unsatisfactory and unpalpably unjust”but given that the judiciary’s role is limited to the interpretation of existing laws and not the creation of new ones she could go no further than this. Her decision however challenged the legislature to implement reforms to the law and address this unjust law that perpetuated the discrimination of women within marriages.

    Justice Makarau (left) in her court regalia

    Justice Makarau also made a bold statement in the case of the two fighting factions of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe in which she ordered them to share the properties of the church in the country. This decision came following the barring of other church members by the faction of ex-communicated Bishop Nolbert Kunonga from the Church of England. Kunonga had decided to unilaterally withdraw himself from the Church of England protesting the acceptance by the church of gay pastors. Kunonga’s decision was strongly supported by the homophobic Zimbabwean government leading to them giving him human support in the form of police and other armed guards to bar the newly appointed Bishop Bakare and his followers from using the church premises. Although Justice Makarau’s decision ordering the two factions to share the premises was later overturned by the Supreme Court, she made a bold statement about the importance of freedom of religion and how the state should not interfere in the practise of that right.

    Although her appointment has been questioned in some fora and her independence queried because she used to be a non-constituency Member of Parliament for ZANU PF and was a member of the Government’s Constitutional Commission in 1998/9 a number of her decision have shown her willingness to serve justice outside partisan interests. Of note is her decision in 2002 in which she ordered the Registrar-General, to draw up a common voters’ roll allowing voters to cast their votes anywhere in the country in the Presidential election and not in their constituency as is required in parliamentary elections. She also ordered the restoration of all those who had lost their citizenship due to changes in citizenship laws onto the voters roll. Her decision was celebrated as a reinforcement of the fundamental right to vote as it allowed those who had been displaced from their constituencies by political violence to vote in their new areas of residence and also enabled those who had become victims of citizenship laws targeted at disenfranchising white Zimbabweans and farm workers who were descendants of Malawian, Zambian or Mozambican origin and perceived to be loyal to the evicted white farmers to vote. All those who had renounced their Zimbabwean citizenship as required by the new law and all those who had not done so were enabled to vote by Justice Makarau’s decision.

    In one of the most protracted legal cases on press freedom, the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe fought the Media and Information Commission which refused it registration. The Media Commission was refusing the Association registration, refusing to even give them a hearing arguing that their previous existence violated the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Justice Makarau stood out for making one of the most celebrated decisions in the course of this case when on 8 February 2006 she set aside the Board of the Media Commission’s decision not to register the Association and declared the entire board disabled from dealing with the case because of the outstanding bias of one of the Commissioners on the Board whom she perceived to be influencing the decisions of all the other Commissioners in this particular case. Justice Makarau’s decision defended and upheld freedoms of the press and expression. The decision was disregarded by the government of course but she had a made a clear decision upholding fundamental freedoms to which the government then acted in contempt.

    The list is quite endless but one thing stands out clear, she is a woman, she is a judge and she has made some ‘fine’ decisions. As young women we aspire to step into her shoes and indeed she is one of the role models that we can emulate.

    1. Justice Makarau also made a bold statement in the case of the two fighting factions of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe in which she ordered them to share the properties of the church in the country. This decision came following the barring of other church members by the faction of ex-communicated Bishop Nolbert Kunonga from the Church of England. Kunonga had decided to unilaterally withdraw himself from the Church of England protesting the acceptance by the church of gay pastors. Kunonga’s decision was strongly supported by the homophobic Zimbabwean government leading to them giving him human support in the form of police and other armed guards to bar the newly appointed Bishop Bakare and his followers from using the church premises. Although Justice Makarau’s decision ordering the two factions to share the premises was later overturned by the Supreme Court, she made a bold statement about the importance of freedom of religion and how the state should not interfere in the practise of that right.

      Ordering the churches to share when Kunonga was no longer a part of the original church was a blunder. When you leave a church you do not take anything that can not speak for itself. The churches were built and are owned by The Church of England. We can safely say that the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Queen are its high executors. Therefore, the church belonged to the faction that subscribed to the Church of England and only them not Kunonga. She should have consulted the Church of England and asked which faction subscribed to England and that would have been the answer. The Homosexuality thing was a farce, we all know that. No Bishop in Zimbabwe supports homosexuality. It was all about Kunonga’s ridiculous Political Speeches, he should have studied Politics instead of Theology.

      Needless to say, I DO NOT TRUST HER. AT ALL.

    2. thanks for a detailed info about madam Rita. I hope she can deliver.

  13. This is her history as a judge but i agree with a guy who said she is too loose and after all most women cannot withstand the kind of pressure zanu pf can release.its left to be seen how she is going to discharge her duties.if she errs in favour of zanu we will go to the streets because this is the most crucial post as we move towards elections.

    1. Being a woman has nothing to do with it. She looks like a Gladiator anyway.
      THIS is exactly what we are fighting for. THIS kind of immediate dismissal from key positions because you are a woman.

  14. Rita Makarau is a fair appointment as I recall during her tenure as high court president we had some sort of quality in justice delivery, many a cases she presided on were fairly decided. She may be zanu but the government seem to have lost a number of cases she presided on unlike the other judges who came from the army.

  15. Being a woman does not necessarily mean she is prone to intimidation by ZPF. Example Beatrice is a very brave woman who defends victims of ZPF like no man has ever done. I think she can withstand pressure. Having been demoted by promotion means some one did not like her impartiality and is a good sign.
    Lets not delve too much into somebody’s personal life. Iwe unoti ari loose wakambovata naye?

    1. ask them for sure, let us not just speculate.

  16. Phunyukabemphethe

    Is Rita a Gukurahundi, I ask?????

  17. Nyongolo Omnyama

    I wish her well, and may her conduct be as proffessional as ever. I hope after her turnure in office, history will remember her as a great stabiliser and a protector of democracy. #May God Bless Zimbabwe

  18. So they continue leaving Welsh in such critical decisions. Tsvangirai is a sellout. Ngaze lenzeni we will vote for Welsh. What was Mutambara representing—-nxxi nxie manie lisijwayela kubi

    1. voting for WELSH Ncube is just as voting zanupf. anyway mdc N its any extension of zanupf

  19. Phunyukabemphethe

    Zim has 10 million people, Gukurahundis should stop day dreaming about the fanciful 14 million figure. Whilst we know that Gukurahundis love being many, unfortunately reality is not according their wishes – they will remain a minority in Southern Africa until Kingdom come.

    Zulus alone are 13 million, add uMthwakazi, add SA Nd.eb.ele. add amaSwati, add amaXhosa – then you know who is the boss in this region of countries that share a border with Mzansi!!!!

  20. I don’t understand why MDCs and Zanu are agreeing on all these recent issues so easily so smooth why now????? When did Zanu pf learn to be positive???? I am smelling a rat this is unusual of the Gukurahundis Batai mazwi akati Karikoga

  21. Ndafunga Anna Tibaijuka, vana amai ndovane zvivindi manje. Amai tinokudai…..you are a professional. Rovai zvemutemo chaizvo!!!

  22. Ko Sandura ke? here is a man of integrity. we know him to be forthright and upright.
    Why are they scared of him. Sandura is a man among men and these guys know.
    he is not plyable thus why they select those they can influence. A woman can be manipulated any time we all know that. they will threaten her and put starks of diamonds and ask her to choose. What do you think she will do. As i write she has been given direction already. She can not even say no to the Post as she hasnt that choice available either.

  23. Does she not have kasmell keZanu PF ? I smell a rat .

  24. @stunned me as well

  25. Rita Makarau has never been ZanuPF.She was appointed Non Constituency MP on basis of gender balance and her legal academic credentials.She has never passed any questionable judgements.Never partisan.She is respected by the legal fraternity.Tsvangirai has no choice.The law says that Chairman of ZEC must be a judge,a retired judge or a person eligible to be a judge.All judges were appointed by Mugabe.The majority of all lawyers are in MDC and therefore there was not much choice of an impartial judge left.There can be nothing better than having a Judge of the Supreme Court as Chairperson of ZEC.She will be reverting to her judicial functions on 1 January 2014.She has a reputation to protect as a Supreme Court judge.The Electoral Act has been refined and she has an easier job to announce election results within the prescribed period.I am confident that Justice Rita Makarau will announce the correct election results.She can not be intimidated.Remember under the new Constitution,Judges can never be fired by anyone.They will resign voluntarily or retire at 70 years of age.Zimbabwe’s election is in safe hands.

    Suggestions that Rita is of loose morals are irresponsible.She does not have that reputation.

  26. cowards coming up with silly comments. zanu zanu kuita seiko nhai. mavakutoita manyoka kare ma elections asati aitwa. Zanu ishumba yenyu akomana.

  27. Ndipeiwo number dzake ndinobika hangu tea ikoko. Haa ini zvekutaura handidi

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