The preliminary delimitation report released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is deeply flawed because the ZEC erred in its calculation of the minimum and maximum number of voters for Parliamentary constituencies permissible under the constitution.
As a result none of the 12 constituencies in Bulawayo qualifies to be one.
Local think-tank, Veritas Zimbabwe today said under the constitution the number of voters in constituencies and wards can vary by up to 20% but no more. But in the present report they do.
Veritas Zimbabwe says that according to the ZEC: “In order to determine the voter population thresholds permissible in line with section 161(6) of the Constitution, the total number of registered voters at the national level was divided by 210 constituencies resulting in a national average of 27 640 voters per constituency. A twenty percent variance from the national average was then determined resulting in a maximum registered voter threshold of 33 169 and a minimum threshold of 22 112 voters. Thus, any such constituency delimited was expected to fall within the minimum and maximum thresholds.”
Veritas Zimbabwe says what the ZEC did was to take the average number of voters per constituency (27 640) and then calculate the number of voters that would be 20% above that average (33 169) and the number that is 20% below the average (22 112). This,however, allowed a difference of up to 40%.
“What ZEC should have done was to calculate the average number of voters per constituency (27 640), then work out the number of voters 10 per cent above that average (30 404) and the number 10 per cent below (24 876). These latter two numbers vary by about 19 per cent, which is within the permissible limit. ZEC should then have ensured that no constituency had more than 30 404 voters and none had fewer than 24 876,” Veritas Zimbabwe said.
If Veritas Zimbabwe is right then none of the 12 constituencies in Bulawayo qualifies as all are below 24 000 voters.
The only constituency with more than 24 000 voters is Cowdray Park with 24 403, still short of the 24 876.
Parliament last week set up a 13-member committee to look at the preliminary report and report back to Parliament on Friday, 13 January.
Friday the 13th has always been considered a harbinger of bad luck.