Head of Zimbabwe election commission quits, source says

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HARARE, Dec 8 (Reuters) – Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairwoman
Rita Makarau resigned on Friday, months before a vote whose credibility is
crucial to the new army-backed government’s efforts to re-engage international
lenders and lure investors, a senior government source said.

Makarau, seen as an ally of 93-year-old former president Robert Mugabe, gave
no reason for her resignation, the official, who declined to be named, said.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was sworn in two weeks ago in the wake of
the de facto military coup that ended Mugabe’s 37-year rule, pledged to hold
elections as scheduled next year.

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa mentioned the credibility of the
elections at least five times in a budget speech on Thursday, a sign of the
vote’s importance in shoring up Harare’s democratic legitimacy.

Opposition parties have demanded reforms to an electoral system they say is
skewed in the ruling ZANU-PF party’s favour.

Makarau, who has been accused of being partisan, was overseeing an overhaul
of the voters’ roll, which the opposition Movement for Democratic Change has
described as “shambolic”.

Makarau did not answer her mobile phone. A spokesman for the ZEC was unable
to confirm Makarau’s departure.