Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba is reported to have lied on live national radio when she was being interviewed by media personality Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa. Ruvheneko asked Justice Chigumba why she was pictured wearing a partisan scarf which is associated with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and has become the unofficial symbol for his administration. In responding to the question, Chigumba claimed that the picture in question was taken during the time before she was appointed as the chairperson of Zec. Said Chigumba,
…the scarf which is now associated with a particular political candidate, that scarf was designed by a brilliant Zimbabwean girl who then approached a group of us when I was a High Court judge to say, “look I’ve designed a scarf in an effort to build national consciousness”. She didn’t only design the scarf, she designed a couple of caps that said Team Zimbabwe, she designed a cloth. She was trying to revive national consciousness and pride in our country and she actually gave me that scarf as a present at that venue where she was addressing us to say “Look I have designed a national dress. I’ve designed a national cloth. I want to build national consciousness. Do you as women judges, do you as a woman judge, do you want to support me?” And I did want to support her and I was very grateful for the present she gave me and I took a picture…Yes, I did take a picture and this was before I became the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. I was a High Court judge.
However, a Facebook post by Celia Rukato the designer of the scarf on, 5 February 2018, on her company page Chjaa Enterprises tells a different story. On the post, Rukato clearly states that Chigumba had already been appointed as the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. Chigumba was sworn in as the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission on the 31st of January 2018. Part of Chikato’s post reads,
We were extremely honoured to get the opportunity to interact with Justice Priscilla Chigumba, the newly appointed Zimbabwe Electoral Commission ( ZEC) Chairperson. During our interaction with Justice Chigumba, we were able to share the story and intention behind the ZimRocks scarf.
Qhubani Moyo another Zec commissioner was also caught in a lie when he initially claimed that the image had been photoshopped after it came out. Said Moyo then,
The fake picture of Justice Chigumba wearing a scarf popularly associated with one party is meant to create an impression that Zec is partisan to some political parties. The commission remains resolute in its independence as provided for by the constitution of Zimbabwe. We’ll continue to ensure that Zimbabweans are protected from such criminal elements.
Netsai Mushonga another Zec Commissioner also claimed that the picture was in fact taken before Chigumba was appointed Zec chairperson and that it was posted by Rukato after Chigumba’s appointment.
Uploaded they but when was it taken? These scarfs were created a long time ago before being associated with a political party. So is the cap below! It says team Zimbabwe and has the Zimbabwe bird also. Some lady created these for Zimbabweans and they have been around for years pic.twitter.com/F7R3liCc87
— Netsai Mushonga 🇿🇼 (@Nmasivanda) July 9, 2018