Electoral commissioner resigns over unfair elections

Commissioner Mkhululi Nyathi has resigned from the ZEC, citing the unprofessional manner in which the elections were run.

Nyathi confirmed his resignation to the Mail & Guardian on Saturday morning. He said he resigned on Wednesday, the day Zimbabwe held its general elections, but declined to speak much because his mobile phone battery was low.

Nyathi resigned through a letter to President Robert Mugabe which was copied to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC leader Welshman Ncube. In his resignation letter, Nyathi implied the elections were not free and fair despite the peace and calm throughout the country.

“I hereby tender my resignation from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission with immediate effect. I do not wish to enumerate the many reasons of my resignation, but they all have to do with the manner the Zimbabwe 2013 harmonised elections were proclaimed and conducted,” reads the letter.

“While throughout the whole process I retained some measure of hope that the integrity of the whole process could be salvaged along the way, this was not be, hence my considered decision to resign.

“Please note that my resignation has nothing to do with the outcome of the process, which I am still unaware of. I wish to through this letter, salute the people of Zimbabwe for conducting themselves with dignity and calm throughout the whole process. However these are not the only benchmarks of free, fair and legitimate elections.”

According to the ZEC website, Nyathi is a lawyer with over 10 years experience and is a senior and managing partner at Mabhikwa Hikwa and Nyathi Legal Practitioners in Bulawayo. Commissioner Nyathi has written and presented several academic papers especially in the area of constitutional law. He graduated with a bachelor of law degree and master’s in law degree from the University of Zimbabwe and the University of the Witwatersrand in 1999 and 2005 respectively.

His resignation has put ZEC in the spotlight with numerous questions arising from the manner in which the elections were run. There have been allegations that the poll was rigged through the manipulation of the voters’ roll, which resulted in thousands of people failing to vote. Zanu-PF is heading for a landslide victory and is almost assured of getting a two-thirds majority in the House of Assembly, while President Robert Mugabe is certain to win the presidential election without a run-off.

Tsvangirai has however said the elections were a “sham” and the results are “null and void”. His party’s national council is in a meeting to decide on a plan of action and is in the process of compiling a dossier to present to South African President Jacob Zuma, the SADC appointed facilitator in the Zimbabwe’s political crisis.

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