Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced that the Delimitation Commission had established new boundaries for the 2005 constituencies but the Movement for Democratic Change which was not represented on the commission expressed concern that the commission could have tampered with the boundaries.
The MDC had not yet decided whether to participate in the elections though the government had introduced several amendments to level the playing field.
Harare North legislator Trudy Stevenson said that there were already rumours that Mbare West and Mbare East would be combined due to a decrease in the number of voters.
She said this would just be a way of reducing the number of seats in urban areas where the MDC was strongest in favour of rural areas where the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front was stronger.
Viewing cable 04HARARE2055, MDC AWAITS NEW PARLIAMENTARY BOUNDARIES
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
201625Z Dec 04
C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 002055
AF/S FOR B. NEULING
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE, D. TEITELBAUM
PARIS FOR C. NEARY
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2009
SUBJECT: MDC AWAITS NEW PARLIAMENTARY BOUNDARIES
REF: HARARE 2049
Classified By: Ambassador Christopher W. Dell under Section 1.4 b/d
¶1. (U) On December 15, Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa
announced that the Delimitation Commission, which establishes
new boundaries for parliamentary constituencies, had
completed its work in preparation for the March elections and
would soon be presenting its report to President Mugabe.
Chinamasa, however, gave no timetable on when the Commission
would make its work public. The boundaries set by the
Commission are reportedly based on the voter rolls as of
¶2. (C) The MDC, which had no one on the Commission, has been
very concerned about the potential for gerrymandering and
fraud in this process (reftel). On December 17, MDC MP for
Harare North Trudy Stevenson told Poloff that the MDC was
anxious to see the results of the Commission,s work. The
MDC has tentatively chosen candidates in the event that the
party decides to participate in the parliamentary elections;
however, Stevenson said candidates cannot officially be
nominated until the constituencies are determined. Stevenson
added that the MDC was somewhat concerned by unofficial
reports they had received of the Commission,s results.
According to these reports, two Harare constituencies, Mbare
West and Mbare East, will be combined, ostensibly due to a
decrease in Harare,s population. Stevenson doubted the
purported basis for the consolidation of the seat and said it
was an example of the Government reducing the number of urban
constituencies, where the MDC was strongest, in favor of
rural areas, where ZANU-PF traditionally had stronger
¶3. (C) COMMENT: Delimitation, along with the registration
process, which is due to be completed in late January, are
potentially important factors in the GOZ,s efforts to ensure
a victory in the March elections, while avoiding outright
fraud at the polls. It remains to be seen whether the
Commission’s work has exceeded the bounds of district
redrawing permitted by the constitution and, if so, whether
there is anything the MDC can do about it. The Commission’s
absence of MDC representation appears to be objectionable
under Article 7.3 of the SADC Principles and Guidelines on
Elections, which provides that electoral bodies must be
“impartial, all-inclusive, competent and accountable.”