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Storm over Mohadi ZEC appointment

by Staff reporter
17 Jul 2022 at 09:36hrs | Views
A POLITICAL storm is raging over the controversial appointment of the daughter of Zanu-PF vice-president Kembo Mohadi (pictured) and the ruling party's Beitbridge senator Tambudzani Mohadi, Abigail Millicent Mohadi Ambrose, as a commissioner in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) amid growing calls for Parliament to reverse her nomination which poses a new danger to the holding of credible elections in 2023.

Mohadi's appointment has angered civil society organisations and opposition parties which are calling for action while looking outside for regional and international support to cleanse Zec that has also been accused of being militarised.

The appointment, described as al scandalous confirmation of Zanu-PF capture of the electoral body, has also been frowned upon by some within Zanu-PF who say it may have been a miscalculation that will jeopardize free and fair polls and create another legitimacy crisis even if the party were to win.

Though Senator Mohadi recused herself from interviewing her daughter, the Zanu-PF vice-president's former wife actively participated and even scored the other interviewees, a move observers said raised eyebrows.

A new report by the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) titled Mohadi Appointment – Consolidation of Zec's Capture by Zanu-PF said the move should be understood in the context of Zanu-PF's 2023 menu of electoral manipulation.

"The politically designed appointment adds to other manipulation ingredients such as the appointment of retired security officials in the secretariat of Zec," the ZDI said.

"We argue that the appointment of Mohadi into Zec shows that Zanu-PF is solidifying its capture and infiltration. The appointment of a daughter of Zanu-PF vice-president at a time when the constituency delimitation process is ready to takeoff raises more questions."

Zec chairperson Priscilla Chigumba said the newly appointed commissioners will be deployed to provinces to oversee the delimitation process.

The opposition is convinced the ruling Zanu-PF is manipulating the delimitation process and the appointment of the new commissioners is part of the plot.

"Zec for a very long time has presided over disputed elections that have failed to meet regional and international standards for a free, fair and credible election."

"The 2018 elections, for example, were marred by weakened public confidence in Zec. Lack of trust in Zec is attributed to a myriad of factors chief among them being appointment of partisan commissioners and role of security agents in its secretariat," the ZDI report reads.

The opposition and civil society have for long raised concern over the militarisation of Zec, but in a recent interview with The NewsHawks Zanu-PF secretary for legal affairs Paul Mangwana said calls for demilitarisation of the electoral body were unconstitutional.

According to the ZDI, the appointment of Mohadi raises two main concerns, namely conflict of interest and incompetence in choosing loyalty ahead of merit.

"The fact that Abigail Millicent Mohadi Ambrose's father Kembo Mohadi is an interested party in Zimbabwe's elections is enough to dismiss her appointment as part of a patron-client relationship which is detrimental to the conduct of credible elections in Zimbabwe."

Until his resignation in government over a sex scandal, Mohadi was a vital figure at the decision-making level in Mnangagwa's administration and now as the Zanu-PF vice-president stationed at party headquarters, Mohadi is tasked with canvassing support for the party ahead of the 2023 elections in which his daughter will play a key role.

"Thus, she cannot be an independent commissioner as she is supposed to be, in electoral processes involving her father who is a deputy president of Zanu-PF party – an election contestant," the ZDI said.

"This conflict of interest also applies to the military personnel who serve in Zec and are conflicted on the basis of their historical links with Zanu-PF whereby both Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (Zanla) and Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (Zipra) forces – now the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), were military wings affiliated to Zanu and PF Zapu – now Zanu-PF."

Zanu-PF spokesperson Chris Mutsvangwa last week added to other pronouncements by other party bigwigs that the military is part of Zanu-PF.

Ironically, Mohadi, whose daughter is now at the centre of the Zec appointment scandal, is also a military man and a retired colonel.

"Her appointment was done on the basis of loyalty instead of competence. In a functional constitutional democratic country, Mohadi Ambrose's scandalous interview was not going to land her the Zec commissioner's post," the ZDI said.

"This appointment took the undesirable loyalty route at the expense of merit. In one of the interview questions, Mohadi failed to articulate the role of Zec. One therefore wonders how she is going to execute her duties when she does not know the motive behind the constitutional establishment of Zec."

The appointment of Mohadi comes at a time ZEC is finalising modalities for conducting the constituency delimitation process which the ZDI said was "potentially an ingredient inside the menu for electoral manipulation as the country heads towards the 2023 elections".

"This is substantiated by the Zanu-PF politburo member Ziyambi Ziyambi who said their party will play a leading role in the demarcation of constituency boundaries in preparation of 2023 elections," the report reads.

"There is no political party that boots itself out of power. As Zanu-PF, we must do things that we are all agreeable to as we come up with electoral boundaries. We will have another meeting to discuss how the delimitation process is going to be conducted," Ziyambi was quoted in the report as saying.

The appointment of Mohadi, observers said, is already a confirmation that the 2023 elections will be disputed.

Civil society, the ZDI said, must report the issues to regional organisations such as African Union and the Southern African Development Community, highlighting Zec's lack of independence.

The ZDI also recommended that Parliament reverse the appointment of Mohadi and come up with a new one in line with the constitution. The Citizens' Coalition for Change said the appointment of Mohadi's daughter and the other suspicious appointments should be challenged, with the party secretary-general, Chalton Hwende, insisting the CCC was denied a say during the interviews.

Source - thenewshawks