Fungi Kwaramba, Harare Bureau
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) yesterday handed a revised draft of the final report on the delimitation of constituency and ward boundaries to President Mnangagwa, a draft that takes into account concerns that were raised by stakeholders and that are not at variance with the Constitution.
At the same time, Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba said Zimbabweans must always remember that the mandate of the elections management body is to the Constitution of Zimbabwe and not to a few individuals.
After handing the report to President Mnangagwa at State House in Harare, Justice Chigumba told journalists that she is confident that the President would approve the revised preliminary delimitation report because Zec had applied its mind to concerns that were raised, both by the President himself and Parliament.
“What we have done in these documents is that we have given the legal explanation for our methodology which was brought into question by Parliament, whether or not we had got the formula correct. Was it 10 percent on top or 20 percent at the bottom? Was it plus or minus 20 percent, and to what extent did Zec use its discretion.
“There were a lot of questions that were raised but in the responses which we have submitted to the President, we have taken each concern one by one, and have explained where we have agreed that there is a need for correction. We have not been shy to say, yes we accept that there was an error here, and we have corrected it. Where we feel that the concern has no merit, we have equally not shied to dismiss it,” said Justice Chigumba.
“What we did, is we resubmitted to the President the concerns and our responses to those concerns which is our Constitutional mandate. Consequently, upon those corrections that we have made, we have corrected or redrawn some boundaries, we have corrected or redrawn some aspects”.
The corrections are reflected in the draft preliminary delimitation report that Zec handed over to the President yesterday and which will be gazetted in the next 14 days subject to approval by the Head of State.
Justice Chigumba said Zec submitted two documents to the President, one that contains responses to concerns raised by the President himself and the other responding to issues raised by Parliament.
However, she noted that in some instances, concerns that were raised by parliamentarians fell afoul of the country’s Constitution and had to be disregarded completely.
The Zec chairperson also made an impassioned plea to Zimbabweans to put the country, its laws, and the Constitution first before selfish interests.
She said Zimbabweans must always realise that opinions on the interpretation of the law can differ but the focus should, in the case of elections, not be on differences but that which binds Zimbabweans together.
“Let us focus on what unites us and less on what divides us. As Zec we have been mandated to conduct all electoral processes in Zimbabwe, and I would like to reassure Zimbabweans; we do not do electoral processes in order to benefit individuals or to benefit certain organisations. We conduct elections to benefit our country.
“This is an election year and we would like to go to elections in peace and in a non-toxic environment. We would like to go to elections in an environment where constitutional processes are accepted by Zimbabweans, and where there are questions or queries, we sit down as Zimbabweans, talk about it, and bring each other on board,” Justice Chigumba said.
In that spirit, she challenged Zimbabweans, from across the political divide, to ensure that this year the country has a toxin-free environment and demonstrate by deeds that indeed Zimbabweans are a peace-loving people who have come of age.
“As the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, we have done our best in drawing the boundaries, what we are appealing for, from our voters, from the Zimbabwean people, is for peace; no violence as we go towards elections,” said Justice Chigumba.
“However, as the chairperson of Zec, I pride myself that Zec is a family. Whatever is happening or not happening at Zec, we can assure Zimbabweans that within the next month or so, we will have everything under control so that we go to elections as a united Zec”.
Article Source: The Chronicle