Think tank and election advocacy group, the Election Resource Centre (ERC) has called for inclusive and extensive stakeholder consultations on the delimitation exercise in the context of elections.
Delimitation in this context is the fixing of electoral boundaries, the process of dividing the country into constituencies and wards for the purposes of electing persons as constituency members of the National Assembly and as councillors of local authorities.
In analysis of the current status on the process, ERC recommended the involvement of various demographics including the church.
“Delimitation is an important electoral process, especially taking into consideration the first-past- the-post electoral system in Zimbabwe. The principles for delimitation should therefore be implemented in a manner that promotes the objectives of the Constitution and international instruments Zimbabwe is signatory to.
“During delimitation there is need for an inclusive and extensive consultation of all stakeholders from all arms of government, private sector, citizens, civil society and all interested parties. ERC recommends that ZEC must ensure that women, the youth and the church take up an active role participating in electoral activities such as delimitation and other electoral processes,” said ERC
ERC said stakeholders should promote transparency through conducting public hearings as it enables accountability of the demarcated boundaries.
“Electoral stakeholders need to consider developing rules and guidelines that will provide mechanisms to which the Electoral Commission will conduct the delimitation process. Guidelines should include comprehensive awareness raising and sensitization of citizens and key stakeholders in good time. The delimitation process should be based on clear logical procedures, transparent processes that involve wide stakeholder consultations through public hearings and a system that enables accountability and traceability of the delimited boundaries,” ERC said.
The advocacy group recommended that the media, given its role as an informer and educator, plays a more active role in providing information on issues relating to the delimitation exercise including notifying the public of the timelines and public consultations.