Amend delimitation report: MPs order Zec

Source: Amend delimitation report: MPs order Zec –Newsday Zimbabwe

PARLIAMENTARIANS yesterday joined hands and asked the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to amend its delimitation report after raising serious misgivings.

The ruling Zanu PF and main opposition parties do not have a history of political collaborations, but yesterday were united in their rejection of the Zec report, which they said should be informed by the recent census, a position taken by its ad hoc committee.

The Parliament ad hoc committee report will be handed over to President Emmerson Mnangagwa today at State House.

It was adopted after heated debate which saw Zanu PF legislators rallying behind their opposition Citizens Coalition for Change counterparts to tear into Zec’s preliminary delimitation report which they said was flawed.

Legislators have demanded that Zec’s delimitation report should be returned for amendment by the electoral body.

The ad hoc committee report also indicated that Zec should ensure that there are equal number of voters in constituencies and wards, with variations limited to 20% as required by section 161 of the Constitution, and that Zec should apply consistent principles when transferring voters from constituencies and wards with large numbers of voters to those with fewer voters.

“Where collapsing of constituencies that had more voters was done to give into those that had fewer voters, it is the committee’s considered view that Zec should use the same principle of maintaining those with more voters and collapsing with those with fewer voters.”

The deadline for final publication of the delimitation report is February 26.

In a report titled Zec Delimitation Report: Electoral Rigmarole and Elite Discohesion, the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) said: “Our view is that the delimitation report generally and overall benefits Zanu PF as a political party, but disadvantages one faction in the power matrix and configuration of the securocratic State. Zec’s deliberate miscalculations served to protect Zanu PF’s parliamentary majority because shrinkage in Matabeleland North (province) would result in more seats in Harare province, which will go to the opposition. In Matabeleland North, six out of 13 constituencies delimited by Zec are below the legally permissible minimum threshold of the 24 876 voter population.”

ZDI identified the constituencies as Hwange Central with 22 636, Lupane East (22 161), Nkayi North (22 639), Nkayi South (22 757), Tsholotsho North (23 310) and Tsholotsho South (24 328) voter populations.

“If the delimitation is to be reworked following the Veritas (2023) formula, some wards in Bubi can be transferred to Umguza, while some wards in Umguza were transferred to Tsholotsho South so that Tsholotsho North gets some wards that are currently in Tsholotsho South to ensure that none of these constituencies is collapsed,” the report reads.

ZDI said capture of the electoral system by the ruling elite was meant to influence poll outcomes through gerrymandering.

“These include collapsing constituencies with more registered voters to beef up constituencies with less registered voters, multiplying constituencies with Zanu PF majorities in Harare to list a few.”

In a statement, the Election Resource Centre called on Zec and Parliament to take into account stakeholders’ concerns within the timeframes remaining in order to achieve credible polls.

“The ad hoc committee glaringly ignored the access to the voters roll for stakeholders, including themselves to be able to verify the delimitation process and its credibility. Parliamentary oversight function includes scrutinising the implementation of laws namely, access to the voters roll under section 21 of the Electoral Act,” it said.

“The Parliament ad hoc committee missed an opportunity to demand the voters roll ahead of finalisation of the report.”

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