Election watchdog, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) says the government should be seized with the delimitation process at the moment rather than leaving it late for the 2023 polls.
Speaking on the sidelines of a Boundary Delimitation Research Finding conducted by the organisation from February-March 2019, Project Consultant Solomon Bobosibunu told 263Chat that the government should provide adequate resources (especially financial) to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on time for the process.
“The government must ensure the ZEC gets all resources in time which will enable it to carry out the delimitation process without any hindrances.
“Seeing as ZEC could not carry out the process last time we had elections, it becomes very important that they are allowed to conduct it sooner rather than later,” said Bobosibunu.
The last delimitation exercise in Zimbabwe was carried out in 2007, shortly before the harmonised elections held on 29 March 2008, following this criteria delimitation was supposed to be held before the 2018 elections.
Failure to do resulted in some wards and constituencies having a more 100% above the limit of the registered voters.
Prime examples are Harare South 76 287, Epworth 71 835, Dangamvura/ Chikanga 60 651, and Goromonzi South 73 031 registered voters.
The fundamental principle is that electoral boundaries must as far as possible create equally-represented constituencies with shared community interests.
The principle of one person one vote is based on the core value that each vote must be equal to the other.
If constituencies with fewer numbers of people are permitted to elect the same number of representatives as constituencies with larger numbers of people, the notion of one person one vote is undermined as it would mean other votes carry more weight than others
According to the research findings, the government should strengthen, guarantee and commit to putting in place mechanisms that further promote the independence of the electoral commission.
Presenting part of the report, ZESN National Director, Rindai Chipfunde Vava said; “ZEC should conduct comprehensive civic and voter education on the delimitation process.
“The civic and voter education should be accurate, comprehensive and inclusive. It should include information on how the delimitation will be conducted. This can be done by raising awareness on the provisions of delimitation in the Constitution and the Electoral Act.”
Zimbabwe People First Spokesperson, Jealousy Mawarire, who attended the meeting said the constituencies, which limits the number of constituencies to 210, should be looked into as this does not create an equilibrium in terms of voters.
“There should be a relook at the constitutional provisions which sets out the number of constituencies. We cannot have just 210 constituencies in a country whose population keeps increasing,” he said.