Has Zimbabwe breached the constitution by tabling the preliminary demilitation report today?


It is important to note section 161(2) of the Constitution, which states:

“If a delimitation of electoral boundaries is completed less than six months before polling day in a general election, the boundaries so delimited do not apply to that election, and instead the boundaries that existed immediately before the delimitation are applicable.”

As we explained in our Election Watch 3/2022, this means that ZEC’s final delimitation report must be published by the 28th January if the new boundaries are to apply to this year’s general election.

What Has Been Done So Far?

What the President has done

On the 30th December the President issued Proclamation 5 of 2022 [link] in which he summoned Parliament to an extraordinary session tomorrow, the 6th January, so that the preliminary delimitation report can be laid before it – and, although the proclamation does not say so, the report will have to be laid before both the Senate and the National Assembly in terms of section 338 of the Constitution.

What Parliament has done

Parliament has issued a notice to its members saying that tomorrow’s sitting will be held virtually, with only a few members attending physically.

The Acting Clerk has sought permission from the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders to appoint an ad hoc committee to analyse the Delimitation and has proposed the following timetable:

6th January:  Tabling of the preliminary report in both Houses of Parliament

7th January:  Ad hoc committee to begin its work on the report                            

13th January:  Ad hoc committee to report its findings and recommendations to both Houses

17th & 18th January:  Both Houses to debate the committee’s findings and recommendations

19th January:  Parliament’s recommendations to be presented to the President.

This timetable, it will be seen, gives ZEC just nine days before the 28th January deadline within which it must consider recommendations made by the President or Parliament and issue its final delimitation report.  If the deadline is not met, the existing – i.e. old – electoral boundaries will apply in the next general election.

Continued next page


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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