Harare-Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, MDC says it is worried buy the appointment of a former army Major as the substantive Chief elections officer of the country’s electoral body.
Utoile Silaigwana was appointed substantive Chief Elections officer of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) with effect from July 1, 2019.
In a statement deputy national spokesperson of the MDC, Luke Tamborinyoka said his party was worried by the appointment and said there was urgent need to reform ZEC.
“The MDC is worried that Utoile Silaigwana, a former army Major who joined ZEC as a serving military officer, has now been confirmed as the electoral body’s substantive chief elections officer.
“Silaigwana’s substantive appointment with effect from 1 July 2019 is testament to the fact that ZEC needs urgent reform if it is to retain its credibility among ordinary Zimbabweans and political players in the country” said Tamborinyoka
The appointment Tamborinyoka said proves that Zimbabwe is home of command elections.
“Put simply, the appointment vindicates the fact that Zimbabwe is the true home of command elections which have resulted in losers occupying the seat of government while the winners are locked out” he said
Tamborinyoka also said that Silaigwana was part of the secretariat that presided over the disputed 2008 and 2018 elections.
“It is pertinent to note that as a serving soldier, Silaigwana was part of the tainted ZEC secretariat that withheld election results for five weeks in 2008 in a plebiscite that SADC and the AU emphatically rejected as not reflective of the will of the people of Zimbabwe.
“As acting chief elections officer since March 2008, Silaigwana also presided over the disputed polls of July 30 last year which resulted in Mr. Mnangagwa being controversially declared as President by the courts and not by the people, who are truly sovereign” he said
The MDC has called for a comprehensive reform agenda encompassing political, electoral and media reforms is if the country is to break from the vicious cycle of disputed elections.
Tamborinyoka added “The MDC has great respect for the military but we have always maintained that the place for our soldiers is the barracks. The military, whether serving or retired, have no place in civilian electoral processes”
Silaigwana has been acting Chief Elections Officer and has been at ZEC for more than 10 years.
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