The Herald (Harare)

15 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Mutambanengwe Still At the Helm of ZEC

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson, Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe, is still at the helm of the institution and reports that he resigned from that portfolio are false, a Cabinet minister has said.

Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa said Justice Mutambanengwe had some prior assignments in Namibia where he has been based before his appointment as chairperson of ZEC.

The minister's remarks followed some media reports recently suggesting that Justice Mutambanengwe was no longer chairperson of ZEC.

Such rumours were further exacerbated by his long absence from ZEC activities as her deputy Mrs Joyce Kazembe has been acting chair.

"He has not left. He has not resigned and he has no intention to do so. He was completing some assignments with the Namibian government and he duly advised us," said Minister Chinamasa.

The reports had gone on to suggest that President Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai were disagreed on a candidate to replace Justice Mutambanengwe.

The PM, according to the reports, wanted retired Supreme Court judge Justice Wilson Sandura while the President was opposed to his name.

But Minister Chinamasa said such reports had no substance.

"I am not aware of that, what we know is that as soon as he completes what he is doing in Namibia he will be rejoining ZEC," said Minister Chinamasa.

Justice Mutambanengwe was sworn in as ZEC chairperson in 2010 after they were formally appointed by the President who is also Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

ZEC is preparing for voter registration and education as part of initial stages for this year's general elections. The electoral body has been meeting members of the executive led by Prime Minister Tsvangirai and one of the key issues that came out was the need to fund voter education programmes.

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