The chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), Justice Priscilla Chigumba, has defended the appointment of Utoile Silaigwana as the commission’s chief elections officer.
Silaigwana’s appointment was condemned by some analysts who claimed that the electoral body was being militarised.
Silaigwana was initially appointed to ZEC when he was still a serving member of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA). He presided over the disputed 2008 elections.
However, in a statement on Thursday, Justice Chigumba asserted that Silaigwana’s appointment is above board. She said:
Questions have been raised on the appointment procedures of the Zec Chief Elections Officer (CEO).
It should be noted that the appointment was done after interviews were conducted by the full commission which sat as an interview panel and vetted several applications before the appointment of the current CEO was effected.
For the record, the current CEO was appointed on merit as he is a qualified elections administrator with 17 years experience in that field.
He is a holder of a Master’s Degree in Elections Administration from an internationally recognised university as well as being an accredited facilitator for Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections, a modular professional development programme on electoral processes.
More: The Chronicle