Zimbabwe's political opposition and civil society groups have criticized the government for filling positions on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission in anticipation of elections in 2008 without reference to crisis talks between the ruling party and opposition.
The Standard newspaper said the commission filled positions including deputy chief inspector and the directors of administration, polling and training, election logistics and human resources following a recruitment drive begun in October.
The two factions of the Movement for Democratic Change and the Zimbabwe Election Support Network said that with an Electoral Laws Amendment Bill still pending and the principals in the South African-mediated crisis resolution talks still discussing the creation of an independent commission, the posts should not have been filled.
The MDC formation headed by Morgan Tsvangirai said it is also concerned about the background of the appointees - all former government employees. The MDC faction of Arthur Mutambara has also complained about the composition of the commission.
Political commentator Chido Makunike said the lack of a truly independent commission raises doubts even at this early stage about the credibility of next year’s elections.