Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) has blasted the recent appointment of Utoile Silaigwana as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Acting Chief Elections Officer saying is another unfortunate incident which continues to put into doubt the credibility of ZEC due the militarisation of the electoral management body.
In a statement released today, CiZC said Silaigwana’s image is tainted with accusations of election rigging and his latest appointment raises eyebrows on the credibility of the ZEC Secretariat and ultimately the credibility of the 2018 polls.
“It must also be noted that he was appointed to ZEC when he was still a serving member of the ZNA and was thus among the people that led to the militarization of ZEC and eventually presided over the 2008 elections whose outcomes were heavily contested.
“Mr Silaigwana’s image is tainted with accusations of election rigging and his latest appointment raises eyebrows on the credibility of the ZEC Secretariat and ultimately the credibility of the 2018 polls,” said CiZC.
The human rights advocacy group said it is becoming quite apparent that Interim President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s promise of a free, fair and credible election is mere rhetoric.
“Mr. Silaigwana’s appointment comes after President Mnangagwa’s declaration that the bloody 2008 elections which resulted in the death of close to 300 opposition supporters were free and fair.
“To add on to this, Justice Minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi is on record saying there is no need for reforms ahead of the 2018 elections,” added CiZC.
The organisation called for the de-militarization of ZEC as well as ensuring that ZEC Secretariat is apolitical saying such measures will be critical in ensuring free, fair and credible elections.
ZEC chairperson, Justice Priscilla Chigumba told a local daily that the decision to have Chigwamba recalled was arrived at by the commissioners who unanimously felt that having a chief elections officer on secondment from the PSC undermined the organisation’s independence.