BY XOLISANI NCUBE
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has come out guns-blazing against critics, saying it has no mandate to probe alleged malpractices.
Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba defended the appointment of Utloile Silaigwana as the substantive chief election officer (CEO), saying he was qualified for the job and those questioning his merit were “lost”.
“For the record, the current CEO was appointed on merit as he is a qualified election administrator with 17 years experience in that field. It should be noted that the appointment was done after interviews were conducted by the full commission which sat as an interview panel and vetted several applications before the appointment of the current CEO was effected,” Chigumba said in a statement.
The opposition had questioned the former soldier’s appointment, describing it as retrogressive and a clear indication that there was no desire to reform Zec.
In recent weeks, the election playing field has came under scrutiny after Zanu PF was accused of vote-buying through Health minister Obadiah Moyo who agreed to restock clinics in Lupane East constituency ahead of a by-election.
Moyo had responded to a request by the ruling Zanu PF commissar Victor Matemadanda who had requested for support to woo voters.
The opposition then urged Zec to probe the vote-rigging allegations against Zanu PF, but Chigumba said it was not their mandate to do so.
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“It should also be emphasised that Zec has no investigative powers in terms of its mandate and that any allegation of electoral malpractices must be reported to the Zimbabwe Republic Police or the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission for investigation and substantiation,” Chigumba said.