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Interviews for Electoral Commission Monday 28 September - Bill Watch Special
September 23, 2009

Interviews of Short-listed Applicants for Zimbabwe Electoral Commission

Monday 28th September, 9 am through to 5 pm in the Senate Chamber, Parliament

28 applicants have been short-listed out of over 100 who applied for appointment to the Electoral Commission.

Proceedings Open to Public: The public will be permitted to attend and to watch and listen but not participate. As seating is limited, anyone wishing to attend is advised to check with Parliament’s Public Relations office on Harare +263 4 700181. Admission will be through the public entrance to Parliament, Kwame Nkrumah Avenue between Second and Third Streets, and ID’s must be produced.

Selection Procedures: Under section 100B of the Constitution it is the President who appoints the chairperson and the eight other members of the Electoral Commission. The procedure for appointment of the chairperson differs from the procedure for the Media Commission where the President chooses the chairperson from the list of nominees for the commission sent to him by Parliament. For the Electoral Commission the chairperson is appointed by the President “after consultation with the Judicial Service Commission and the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders” [CSRO] – he or she does not have to be appointed from the list put forward by Parliament. “After consultation” means that President has to discuss his choice with the bodies to be consulted but is free to disregard their views. The President must appoint 8, at least 4 of whom must be women, other members of the Electoral Commission from a list of not fewer than 12 nominees [it can be more than 12], submitted to him by the CSRO [Constitution, section 100B(3)].

Qualifications for Appointment to Electoral Commission

Chairperson: The chairperson must be a judge or former judge or a person qualified to be a judge [i.e., a registered legal practitioner of at least seven year’s standing].

Other members: Section 100B(4) of the Constitution states that persons appointed to the Commission “must be chosen for their integrity and their experience and competence in the conduct of affairs in the public or private sector”.

Interview procedure: The interviews will be conducted by a five-member panel using structured questions drafted by consultants. Another 8 designated members of the CSRO will be putting supplementary questions after the panel has asked its set questions. All other members of the CSRO are expected to attend and observe.

Members of the interview panel are the same as for the Media Commission interviews:

  • Senator Obert Gutu [MDC-T]
  • Thabitha Khumalo MP [MDC-T]
  • Edward Mkhosi MP [MDC-M]
  • Mabel Chinomona [ZANU-PF]
  • Senator Chief Fortune Charumbira

Candidates’ performance on interview will be rated by the consultants advising the CSRO, the interview panel and the 8 other designated members of the CSRO. The scoring of these three groups will be compared and if there is agreement the list will be finalised there and then. If the compared scorings do not produce a clear result, the final decision on which candidates will be put forward to the President will be taken by the full CSRO.

Some of the Candidates [Note: these names were published as short listed candidates in the State press although Parliament has said the list is not being released yet as some candidates have still to be contacted]

  • Mrs Joyce Kazembe, Deputy Chairperson of the present Commission
  • Theophilus Gambe, Member of the present Commission, a legal practitioner
  • Vivian Ncube, Member of the present Commission
  • Dr Goodwill Shana, Chair, Heads of Christian Denominations
  • Professor Geoff Feltoe, UZ Professor of Public Law
  • Mrs Bessie Nhandara, an academic
  • Kenneth Saruchera

Powers and Functions of the Electoral Commission

The Commission is a vitally important body. Its main functions outlined in the Constitution are:

  • to prepare for, conduct and supervise elections at national and local level, and referendums [particularly relevant with a referendum on the draft new Constitution due next year] and to all matters pertaining to elections are conducted efficiently, freely, fairly, transparently and in accordance with the law;
  • to supervise the registration of voters, and to compile and safeguard voters rolls;
  • to conduct the delimitation of wards and constituencies in accordance with the Constitution;
  • to conduct voter education.

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