Supreme Court Judge new ZEC chairperson

Rita Makarau inspecting a police column

By Tichaona Sibanda
19 February 2013

Supreme Court Judge Rita Makarau is to become the next chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), SW Radio Africa learnt on Tuesday.

The former Judge President of the High Court, appointed to the Supreme Court in 2010, came out as the consensus figure when President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai met in Harare on Monday to choose the new ZEC chair.

The principals to the GPA, who included Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, agreed on Makarau during their Monday meeting but refused to identify her to the media.

Tsvangirai explained to journalists that they needed to consult with the candidate first before releasing the name. The former law lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe will replace Simpson Mutambanengwe, the former ZEC chair who resigned last week citing health reasons.

If she agrees to her new appointment, Makarau is expected to take charge of ZEC immediately. SW Radio Africa is reliably informed Makarau’s appointment was by consensus, although both the MDC formations know of her past links to ZANU PF.

In the 1990’s she was appointed a non-constituency MP by Mugabe before she left parliament to join the bench. Political commentator Daniel Molokele, a former law student of Makarau’s at the UZ, said the MDC formations have limited options when it comes to the appointment of the ZEC chair.

The constitution is clear that the chairperson should be an active or retired judge. Since independence all judges, current or retired, have been appointed by Mugabe and may be perceived as close to or pro-ZANU PF. But Makarau apparently received a seal of approval from the MDC formations, who describe her as a principled judge.

‘I think in terms of background, she’s one of the few judges the MDC formations view as a moderate. I think they can work with her as someone who is professional,’ Molokele said.

Another appointment has been that of Jacob Mudenda to replace Professor Reg Austin as the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission.

Molokele offered a damning critique of Mudenda, described as a strong ally of party strongman Emmerson Mnangagwa. He has been alleged that he has been behind a series of human rights abuses, especially in the Matabeleland provinces.

‘I find his appointment very difficult to accept. He’s one person who hasn’t been outspoken on human rights issues. He hasn’t been a human rights advocate, he’s more of a political appointee than a rights advocate,’ Molokele said.

He emphasized that he had no faith in Mudenda’s ability to crack the whip on human rights abusers from ZANU PF, a party he belongs to and once served as governor for Matabeleland North.

‘He’s a former high ranking official of ZANU PF and there’s no way you can expect him to crackdown on people from that party…its not going to happen,’ Molokele explained.

2 Responsesto “Supreme Court Judge new ZEC chairperson”

  1. super mondo says:

    i wonder how long she will last before she gets her knickers in a twist.

  2. wilbert_mukori says:

    I wonder how long it is going to take Zimbabweans before they realize that every institution, the ZRP, ZNA, CIO, ZEC, Judiciary, Registrar General, you name, every one of them are all operating to the same rules as in 2008 and they are all being run by Mugabe loyalists indeed many of them the same guy as in 2008! Nothing has changed, absolutely nothing has changed. Once this penny has dropped it is impossible for anyone not to come to the conclusion that Mugabe has absolutely no intention of holding free and fair election.

    Mugabe will use every dirty trick he can think of to win the elections. He was the public media already on his side – there will be no free media. Many will find they cannot vote because their names are still missing in the voters roll although known Zanu PF are still being registered just to be absolutely sure they are on the roll. And then there is Mugabe’s own personal favorite, violence; it is simply impossible to see how a repeat of 2008 can be avoided.

    Mugabe is banking on the penny not dropping until after the referendum when he will, hopefully, have the yes vote safely in the bag. It will not matter then is the pennies rain down, it will be too late.

    And to help create this false sense of security he may Tsvangirai announcing his political appointees! Tsvangirai, after five years of twiddling his thumbs he is only too pleased to be doing something even it is digging his own grave!

    There will never be a factual movie on Tsvangirai and some of his blind loyal supporters; even those who are witnessing these things will not believe the storyline, it is simply impossible that anyone can be this stupid!

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