ZIMBABWEANS on social media have trashed the appointment of Abigail Mohadi Ambrose to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), arguing that she cannot be trusted to be independent and impartial in a contest in which her father, Zanu PF vice-president Kembo Mohadi (pictured), is a key player.
Mohadi’s appointment has sparked outrage, with people saying it is the latest evidence of Zanu PF’s capture of the electoral body. The general consensus during a Twitter Spaces discussion convened by Open Parly this week on how the appointment of Mohadi’s daughter affects voters’ perceptions and the election process was that Mohadi’s appointment was nepotistic and influenced by her parents.
A Zanu PF supporter based in South Africa said the appointment of Abigail Mohadi Ambrose, whose mother Tambudzani Mohadi is a senator and was on the interview panel, tarnishes the image of the electoral body.
“That is clearly nepotism. I’ll tell you why I say it’s nepotism, the mother of the girl was actually part of the panel. So the mother of the girl, whether she recused herself when it was now her daughter’s turn to be interviewed, it does not make any difference as long as the mother of that girl took decisions regarding other candidates’ fate, because other candidates were competing against their daughter. So she had the privilege to actually decide against other candidates, putting her daughter at an advantage. We need to call a spade a spade, if we have to build, rebuild and build Zimbabwe. We cannot sugarcoat this, this was wrong. Hence, yesterday, I wrote an urgent open letter to the President, hoping that the President is going to take heed of that letter, because we cannot have politicians creating jobs for their children. So what it means it means mina (me) my child will never work in government,” said Gugu Ncube.
There were efforts to sanitise the process by saying the mother of Commissioner Mohadi Ambrose, Senator Tambudzani Mohadi, recused herself from participating in her daughter’s interview.
Gugu added that the fact that Zanu PF vice-president Kembo Mohadi no longer holds a government post is immaterial.
“Kembo Mohadi does still have a lot of influence in everything happening in Zimbabwe. He might not be in the government, but the mere fact that he is still the vice-president of the ruling party, it’s that on its own Kembo Mohadi has got a very huge influence on whatever is happening in the government issues of Zimbabwe. We can’t run away from facts,” she said.
The relationship between father and daughter raises the question of conflict of interest. Will Commissioner Mohadi Ambrose be able to make a decision that is against her father or the party in which her father is a bigwig?
“If she is a real accountant, Accountants have got ethics to follow, they’ve got ethics to comply with. I would go further and look at the membership. Is she a chartered accountant, is she a member of an institute, because chartered accountants in terms of their ethical code, they are saying that the moment you become related to the subject matter or to who you are going to be with we are now talking of threats that may be arising from that one. It will be a conflict of interest,” Champion John said.
Some participants came to the defence of Mohadi Ambrose, saying the parliamentarians during the interviews never raised concerns because everything was above board. The fact that opposition MPs were either mum or absent is what the citizens should be interrogating.
“My other problem with this entire thing is that Parliament has control, there are committees meant to, you know, control the appointment of these things. The fact that we are talking about this now, after these people got sworn in, means someone was sleeping on the job. This issue should have been raised the minute these names were shortlisted that people in Parliament or the MPs, who sit on that committee should have come out and said, You know what, guys, we have these names, we feel like these people will be compromised. We’ve known of these names ever since this whole process started. So why now should we make noise about it? For me, I believe that the committees within Parliament have a part to play in this matter because they are the ones who should have raised the alarm when this process initially started so that we would not have gotten to this position. So if you’re going to be reacting every time somebody does something, we are part and parcel of the mess, all of us we are equally responsible. We should always raise the alarm. We could have gone to court and challenged these people being shortlisted even if we had to, but now it’s too late they have been appointed,” Pastor Tom said.
The Twitter Spaces debate got quite heated, with some participants raising the gender card while dismissing issues of nepotism and people bringing up the issue of opposition CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere, whose parents are Zanu PF members and that this does not cloud her objectivity.
Others dismissed the nepotism claim, saying Mohadi Ambrose’s appointment was justified from a gender equality perspective.
“I feel like we are being abusive to women here. We must be giving women a chance to do something. She is not the only one. If it was your daughter, I am sure it would have been different. There are those saying nepotism; but she won’t be the only person where nepotism happened and she will not be the last. So I do not like us victimising one girl and go on and on about her,” Prof Feresu said.
Mohadi fared dismally in the interview, failing to convincingly answer questions on the constitution.