Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Chairman Simpson Mtambanengwe says Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede cannot run elections on his own, saying Mudede and his office should operate under the supervision of the commission in conducting any election.
Mtambanengwe told a media workshop in Kadoma on Wednesday that the full control of elections by the registrar general ended long ago in 2004.
The Electoral Commission wants the Office of the Registrar General to be reduced to a department operating under the supervision of the commission.
But analysts say this proposal is likely to be rebuffed by Mudede and President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF, which has benefited from Mudede’s operations in the past.
Opposition parties, civil groups and ordinary Zimbabweans have long been critical of Mudede’s handling of electoral matters. The voters roll which the Office of the Registrar General maintains is generally acknowledged to be seriously corrupted, including for instance many deceased Zimbabweans, and voter registration is problematic.
Mtambanengwe told the workshop he had held discussions with Mudede who he said was “sensitive” when it came to his role in elections. He said he will meet the registrar again on January 27 to discuss what is to be done about the voters roll.
Commenting, Election Resource Center Director Tawanda Chimhini said Mtambanengwe’s position regarding the Office of the Registrar General is welcome as the reform he proposes would be a good step toward broader electoral reform.