Harare - Zimbabwe's leaders have picked a Supreme Court
judge to head the country's electoral body ahead of a crunch constitutional
referendum and national elections, a minister said on Wednesday.
President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai have proposed the appointment of Rita Makarau, 52, to head the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), Patrick Chinamasa, Zimbabwe's justice
minister, told AFP.
Seen as a pro-Mugabe candidate, Makarau, has worked as a
former public prosecutor and lectured briefly at the University of Zimbabwe.
In 1997, Mugabe appointed her as a non-constituency
member of parliament; she also served in the constitutional commission that
drafted a constitution that was rejected by voters in 2000.
She has been a Supreme Court judge since 2010.
According to Chinamasa, Makarau's appointment is not yet
finalised and would be temporary until a permanent head is found.
"It is a proposed appointment, now we are waiting
for consultations between the Judicial Services Commission and the parliament
committee before the formal announcement is made," he said.
She would be replacing former judge Simpson Mutambanengwe
who retired last week as head of the commission.
Zimbabwe is expected to hold a constitutional referendum
on 16 March and elections in July, which will end the shaky coalition, but no
dates have been set.
Elections in Zimbabwe have been marred by human rights
violations including killings of political opponents, beatings and