By Dylan Murambgi
Harare, July 26, 2016 – DOZENS of youths from opposition political parties have demanded the stepping down of current Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairperson Rita Makarau whom they accuse of failing to manage the country’s emotive electoral processes.
Makarau is also the chairperson of the Judicial Services Commission.
The youths drawn from the multi-party initiative, the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA), said Makarau was incapable of discharging her duties impartially because of judicial portfolio and links to the ruling Zanu PF party.
“We demand that the ZEC Secretariat be run by competent, non-partisan and proficient personnel transparently,” the youths said in a petition.
“Specifically, we demand the de-militarisation and de-politicisation of ZEC through appointment of commissioners in a public and transparent manner and the removal of military personnel from positions of influence.”
The youths also demanded that Parliament steps up its supervisory role on ZEC as provided for in the constitution.
They insisted the electoral management body should prove to the nation that it had the capacity to run free, fair and credible elections in terms of its budget, structures and human resources capacity.
The protesting youths were barred by anti-riot police from handing over their petition to the clerk of parliament although they finally handed it to the assistant clerk of parliament, John Gandiwa.
ZEC, once described a security risk by MDC-T politician Job Sikhala, is under fire for stuffing its secretariat with suspected state agents and failing to ward off continued interference from President Robert Mugabe’s party.