Farirai Machivenyika, Harare Bureau
Newly appointed Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba pledged to deliver a free and credible election yesterday soon after she took her oaths of loyalty and office before President Emmerson Mnangagwa at State House.
Justice Chigumba’s swearing in followed her appointment to the post on Wednesday to take over from Justice Rita Makarau who resigned in December last year.
President Mnangagwa appointed Justice Chigumba after consultations with the Judicial Service Commission and Parliament’s Committee on Standing Rules and Orders as required by the Constitution.
Addressing journalists soon after taking her oaths, Justice Chigumba said it was an honour to be appointed to the post.
“It is an honour to be asked to serve one’s country in this capacity as the chairperson of Zec and I promise the Zimbabwean people that I will deliver a free, fair and credible election,” she said.
Justice Chigumba said she was unfazed by the task ahead as the law was clear as set out in the Constitution.
“I can never be daunted when the law is set because my mandate is very clear: It’s just to administer the law, to apply the law which exists and as a judge, I do that on a daily basis, so there is nothing daunting,” she said.
“The Zec is an administrative body and its mandate emanates from the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the Electoral Act and what the Commission needs to do is clearly set out in terms of the law, and my mandate is just to be an umpire and ensure that there is fairness in the process of Zimbabweans electing their leaders.
“It’s a clear mandate and I intend to discharge it fully.”
Justice Chigumba said she would look at concerns raised by some political parties and civil society on electoral processes to ensure a credible election this year.
“Certainly, we will look at all those issues and do our best because it is our intention to deliver a credible election,” she said.
Justice Chigumba said she would ensure that the on-going voter registration exercise produced a credible voters’ roll that will produce an undisputed election.
Justice Chigumba obtained her law degree in the United Kingdom in 1994 and upon graduation from her studies she joined Gollop and Blank law firm the same year.
She practiced as a lawyer for six years before joining PG Industries as assistant company secretary and later formed her own law firm.
Justice Chigumba joined the Ministry of Justice, Parliamentary and Legal Affairs as a magistrate in 2004 and served as a resident magistrate and provincial magistrate before being seconded to work as a senior professional research assistant in the Office of the Chief Justice.
She was sworn in as Justice of the High Court in December, 2012.