Masvingo, Matabeleland to lose constituencies in 2023

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

MASVINGO and Matabeleland provinces are likely to lose some constituencies in the forthcoming elections; a recent survey conducted by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has shown.

The delimitation of fresh constituency boundaries is expected to be carried out before the 2023 elections on the basis of an expected national census in 2022.

The survey’s outcome also indicates that constituencies in MDC Alliance ‘s strongholds of Harare, Manicaland and Zanu PF support bases of Mashonaland Central and West will also increase while the number of constituencies in Midlands and Mashonaland East will remain unchanged.

Presenting the survey‘s outcome at a local hotel in Bulawayo on Thursday, ZESN consultant Solomon Bobosibunu said during the survey, 2 391 respondents were interviewed from a targeted 2 400.

The consultant said the study gathered data from 300 enumeration areas, 300 wards in both rural and urban areas with the equal gender number.

“Estimates were made for the proposed number of constituencies based on the current registered voters, as at February 2019.

“The total number of registered voters is 5 686 121 as of the same period,” he said.

“Harare has the largest number of registered voters at 899333, followed by the Midlands with 760615 registered voters while Manicaland has 732292 voters. Mashonaland West and West have got 654272 and 632013 respectively,” Bobosibunu said.

According to the survey, Harare is the most under represented province according to a formula the consultant said was used.

“Firstly, the registered voters were divided by the total number of constituencies per province and then the total provincial registered voters were divided by the average registered figure.

“These figures were arrived at after applying the +/-20 % threshold provided for in the constitution. The lowest number of registered voters expected for any constituency would be 21 662 while the average is 27 077 and the expected highest number of registered voters would be 32493,” he added.

Bobosibunu said the average figure was used to come out with the research results. According to the outcome of the research results, a number of the people in the country do not know who has the mandate and responsibility to conduct delimitation of boundaries in the country.

Section 161 of the new Constitution provides that electoral boundaries are supposed to be delimited once every 10 years following a population census. The Constitution also caps the constituencies at 210.

Under the current laws the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is allowed to conduct delimitation after a national census and the delimitation report is required to be compiled at least six months before elections.

Voting areas need to be redrawn periodically because of population changes or other changes to administrative or electoral boundaries.