Some ZanuPF affiliates have launched an attack on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) over the delimitation process accusing the electoral management board of hurrying the process while not widely consulting with traditional leaders and concerned stakeholders.
In Zimbabwe, the delimitation of constituencies, wards and other electoral boundaries is done by ZEC as provided for in Section 239 of the Constitution.
Despite this, one of the associations, MenBelievED, accused ZEC of not following due process during the consultation stages. The association’s spokesperson Timothy Nyakudzuka said they are against the preliminary.
Section 161 (7 to 12) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe stipulates that; after delimiting wards and constituencies, ZEC must submit to the President a preliminary
“As a community of interest in the delimitation of electoral boundaries, we believe the commission did not have sufficient time to execute a thorough and effective process, and it is consequently the reason why we are here today, to express our disgruntlement in Zec’s failure to define a path for fair representation and contribution of the thoughts of the general public,” said Nyakudzuka.
“Without sufficient consultations with the people of this nation, this delimitation remains the work of the electoral commission, not our people and it should not be trusted as a path to build our country. Let us be clear, any delimitation process not informed by the views of our people is a flawed process,” he noted.
This is, however, contrary to the provisions of the Constitution which do not compel ZEC to consult parties and associates. However, as key stakeholders, citizens are encouraged to participate by registering to vote, providing civic and voter education on boundary delimitation, attending community meetings and providing information as requested by ZEC during consultations among others.
Section 161 of the Constitution also stipulates that the boundaries of constituencies must be such that, so far as possible, at the time of delimitation equal numbers of voters are registered in each constituency within Zimbabwe.
Association of Rural Districts Councils of Zimbabwe said ZEC disrupted the traditional way through the delimitation exercise.
“This delimitation process has resulted in disharmony among communities, undermined traditional values and reduced confidence in emerging societies. Our people should never have to choose between their nations and boundaries,” David Mutasa, leader of the association said.
“Traditional leaders, the business community, farmers, miners, in fact, most stakeholders were excluded from the consultative process and we hear that the commission has completed delimitation and made decisions on behalf of all these stakeholders in delimiting the nation’s boundaries,” he said.
Mutasa’s utterances however are devoid of the fact that some key stakeholders like the Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (ZESN) and the Election Resource Centre (ERC) have been, in conduction with ZEC, have been conducting awareness campaigns in communities and in the media, educating them on the process.
Addressing journalists in Harare Tuesday, ZYAP president Tonderai Chidawa discredited the delimitation exercise saying the exclusion of youths was a direct attack on their future.“We raise our voices against the proposed delimitation of boundaries by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. We believe the exclusion of youths in this process is a direct attack on the future of young people for which our nation’s backbone was created and embraced. We strongly disagree with the proposed delimitation of boundaries by the Electoral Commission. This is an appeal to the leadership of this nation, to revisit the role of young people and their constituents and consider our right to express our views in the configuration of our nation’s boundaries,” said Chidawa.
The Constitution provides for the rationalization of constituencies that are too big or too small by a threshold of +/- 20% registered voters.
Delimitation only takes place once every ten years and is a crucial electoral process with a bearing on election outcomes.