Various opinion leaders and political commentators have said the recently appointed new members of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) are too young and incapable of stopping meddling by the military on electoral issues.

This comes after President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently swore in six commissioners at State House who replace the other six whose terms of office expired on July 6, 2022.

The newly sworn in commissioners include Catherine Mpofu, Abigal Millicent Mohadi Ambrose, Shepherd Manhivi, Rosewita Marutare, Janet Mbetu Nzvenga and Kudzai Shava.

“The ages of the commissioners means that they are easy to intimidate and … they are compromised by their connections and relations,” said political analyst Rashweat Mukundu in an interview with the private-owned NewsDay.

Added Mukundu:

“I think this is the worst process of replacing commissioners that Zimbabwe has had since the setting up of Zec. Not only had the majority of people compromised daughters of active politicians in Zanu PF, former civil servants, and all sorts of shady characters who now constitute Zec.

“I think this is the first point of a disputed electoral outcome no matter how Zanu PF and Zec may defend the integrity of electoral processes in Zimbabwe. That was very political, but beyond political. We are essentially in the straws of a disputed election in 2023 which will further prolong the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe”.

According to Vivid Gwede, another political analyst, the nomination of people with close ties to key Zanu PF figures was a cause for concern.
Jasper Mangwana, the Zec spokesperson said the electoral body had nothing to do with the appointment of the six commissioners.
“Zec is not the one that employs the commissioners, but it is Parliament that has that mandate, but basically I don’t see anything wrong about giving opportunities to the youth,” Mangwana said.

On the other hand, Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu said that people’s abilities had nothing to do with age or gender.

“They went through interviews and selection by the Standing Rules and Order of Parliament. So I believe that the experience and qualifications have nothing to do with age or gender,” Mpofu told NewsDay.