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ZEC Delimitation Report a Zanu PF scheme says research institute; opposition argues there is no difference between preliminary and final copies

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By Leopold Munhende


ZIMBABWE Electoral Commission’s (ZEC) recently gazetted delimitation report has been described as a scheme to maintain ruling Zanu PF’s majority in parliament.

Local think tank, Zimbabwe Democracy Institute’s (ZDI) analysis of the report, released Tuesday identified three points it argued are an indication of the plot.

ZEC has been accused of deliberate gerrymandering to ensure a Zanu PF win in the country’s general elections set between July and August.

According to ZDI, the electoral body used 2007 constituency boundaries, cutting on perceived opposition strongholds and increasing numbers in Zanu PF strongholds.

“ZEC’s final delimitation report gazetted by President Mnangagwa on the 20th of February 2023 can best be understood as a Zanu PF scheme for maintaining a two-thirds majority in Parliament,” reads the report.

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“ZEC deliberately applies 2007/8 total seats per province as its basis in coming up with the 2023 framework for allocating constituencies and sticks to its erroneous application of section 161(6).

“There is no justifiable reason for adopting this framework other than the desire to avoid loss of constituencies from Zanu PF stronghold provinces needed to secure a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

“ZEC disregarded adult population dynamics per province presented in the 2022 census when it allocated constituencies per province. If it was  used, seven seats were going to be transferred from Zanu PF stronghold provinces to the opposition stronghold provinces. ZEC disregarded registered voter proportions per province in the total national voter population in coming up with its constituency allocation framework.

“If they were used as a basis for allocating constituencies per province, three constituencies were going to be transferred from ZANU PF stronghold provinces to opposition stronghold provinces.”

With elections less than six months away, main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) told reporters Wednesday it knew there was no going back on the new boundaries despite the concerns it raised.

Speaking at a press conference in Harare CCC’s Ian Makone, who is responsible for the party’s election related policies, said there were no differences between the preliminary report which ZEC was told to rework by Mnangagwa and parliament, and the gazetted one.

“There is no difference in a particular province in the constituencies and wards between the preliminary and final report,” said Makone.

“It goes to show that the preliminary report remains largely intact. Where we have a worry is below the ward, the polling areas. The final report is silent on that otherwise the constituency and ward level are pretty much the same.”

Zanu PF and CCC are top headliners of this year’s elections, five years after their last bout resulted in a contested outcome.