The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission must re-do the delimitation exercise taking into account recommendations made by Parliament and it has time to do so so that the new constituencies can be used in this year’s elections.
This was the view of several Members of Parliament when the preliminary delimitation report came for debate in the National Assembly yesterday.
Zimbabwe is expected to hold national elections in July or August this year.
The legislators said ZEC had not followed the constitution. It should have taken last year’s national census into consideration but it had not done so.
Harare East legislator Tendai Biti said although ZEC had failed dismally, it had time to get things right as the commission had until 28 February to come up with its final report.
“Let us be loyal to data, let us be loyal to the figures, and let us be loyal to the statistics. If we do that we are home and dry. They have got time; the law says the report must be done six months before and the six months end on the 28th February 2023. I submit, if they do that desk top process they should be able to complete,” Biti said.
Prince Dubeko Sibanda said that Zimbabwe could not afford to use the 2007/8 delimitation report because it was now 15 years out of date.
Zimbabwe has to use the last delimitation report if the new delimitation is not approved on time.
“I submit that the variations or the failure to observe the law that was done by ZEC in its preliminary report are not fatal to an extent that this nation should revert to the 2007/2008 Delimitation Report or that this nation should be forced to postpone elections in order to give ZEC more time,” Sibanda said.
“I submit that going back to the 2007/2008 report is not something that is favourable because the 2007/2008 report is overtaken by 15 years and obviously there are a lot of things that have taken place between 2008 and 2022.
“There have been so much movement of voters between different areas to an extent that the current report could be closer to speaking to the true reflection of the voter population distribution in this country compared to 2007/2008 and for that purpose, I am more amenable to the current report being adopted by ZEC with recommendations that have come from the Ad hoc Committee and from this House and that the nation should go ahead to conduct its elections within the time that it is meant to take place.”
Paurina Mpariwa queried why Members of Parliament were wasting time debating the delimitation report when it was clear that it had several flaws. She said Parliament should simply send back the report to ZEC to address all the issues that had been raised and ZEC had to do so even if this meant working 24 hours a day.
Zimbabwe, she said, could not afford to have another disputed election.
The debate continues today.