ZEC can never be independent under current constitution: Madhuku

HARARE – The appointment of Zanu PF deputy leader Kembo Mohadi’s daughter to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is the product of a flawed constitution, law expert Professor Lovemore Madhuku says.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa named Abigail Ambrose among commissioners of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), and Madhuku argues there is nothing stopping him from making the appointment, which the opposition argues calls into question the elections body’s impartiality.

Madhuku described as “ignorant bliss” those condemning the appointment.

“We have always pointed out that the current constitution of Zimbabwe is very defective, and very undemocratic in some respects and that respect might be related to who should appoint commissioners,” Madhuku said in an interview with HSTV.

“Here the president didn’t do anything wrong, he exercised his discretion which he is given by the Constitution and once you give a president discretion there must be limited room for complaining in respect of how that discretion has been exercised. It can be right or wrong.

“What should be criticised is giving the president unbridled power, in this case the president was given names by the parliamentary committee that did the shortlisting.”

Madhuku, who leads the small National Constitutional Assembly opposition party, maintains that it is presently not possible to have an impartial ZEC.

“Zimbabweans must realise that whereas we might need a ZEC that is independent, we might not be able to get a ZEC that we truly have confidence in under the current constitutional arrangements, not least because under the current constitutional arrangements ZEC commissioners will always be appointed by the president and there will always be people who will see the president not acting impartially but be clearly favouring certain interests,” Madhuku explained.

“So, it doesn’t matter who becomes the president as long as you have a system where commissioners are appointed by the president, even good commissioners would be condemned as long as they are seen in some political circles as being aligned to the president.

“Our urgent need in future is to change the constitution and provide a framework where we do not involve the president in the appointment of at least this one commission called the electoral commission.”

Commissioners of independent constitutional bodies must apply to parliament for consideration. Following interviews with MPs, the constitution says lawmakers must send at least 12 names to the president from which to choose.

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