Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba has categorically denied allegations that she is involved in a sexual relationship with any of the presidential candidates contesting the July 30 elections. This followed allegations which were posted on microblogging site Twitter, by former Sunday Mail editor Edmund Kudzayi. Kudzayi alleged that Chigumba is involved in sexual relations with one of the candidates which raised questions about Chigumba’s impartiality due to a potential conflict of interest. Kudzayi also alleged the story has not been published by other people due to fear. Writing on Twitter, Kudzayi said,
Justice Chigumba must resign from her position at ZEC. While her privacy must ordinarily be respected, there is a strong public interest argument in this instance where a private sexual relationship fetters the discretion of a judge. I will publish the full story on Wednesday.
…A conflict of interest is by definition a matter of public interest…If the referee is having sex with one of the players that is a conflict of interest. Simple as that.
In an interview with media personality Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa on Capitalk 100.4 FM on Monday night when she was asked if she was involved in a private sexual relationship that compromises her independence, Chigumba said that even though her private life should ordinarily remain private, she was going to respond to the allegations. Said Chigumba,
What I want to categorically state is, firstly my private life is my private life and it should remain exactly that, private. I will answer your question directly, I am not in any sexual relationship or any relationship whatsoever which has the potential or is likely to jeopardise my ability to discharge my functions. To answer you very explicitly; I am not in a sexual relationship with a presidential candidate.
Chigumba also reiterated claims that the two column presidential ballot papers were the best choice available to the electoral commission due to budgetary constraints.
After the interview, Kudzayi took to social media and acknowledged that by saying that she was not involved with a presidential candidate, Chigumba was telling the strict truth. However, he said that the person in question was actually a cabinet minister in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration. Said Kudzayi,
Chigumba is telling the truth that she is not in a relationship with a presidential candidate. I never mentioned a “presidential” candidate. Her lover is a married cabinet minister. Let’s talk on Wednesday tipedze nyaya yacho. (Let’s talk on Wednesday to conclude the matter)