By Darlington Gatsi
A local data analysis and electoral advocacy group, Team Pachedu, has shredded the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (ZEC) delimitation report, flagging anomalies and discrepancies in its latest report.
ZEC is working on the completion of the delimitation report whose exercise was carried out last year in preparation of the upcoming elections.
ZEC’s preliminary report which was tabled before Parliament early this year received unanimous criticism from political players who argue it was conducted under unclear circumstances.
Parliament’s ad-hoc committee, tasked to analyse the preliminary report also levelled criticism in its findings.
In its report Team Pachedu highlighted inconsistencies in voter totals in constituencies.
According to ZEC as of May 30 2022 the country had 5,804,376 people who had registered to vote, a figure Team Pachedu disputes in the report.
“Owing to the fact that ZEC kept the voters roll secret to avoid professional scrutiny, the population discrepancies were only determined from the inconsistent voter totals that were presented in the ZEC delimitation report. With regards to polling station discrepancies, several aspects were covered from invalid polling station codes to duplicate polling stations, non-standard polling station numbering, district and local authority irregularities on polling station codes, as well as polling stations that had been assigned to different wards.
“ZEC is not being honest. ZEC should publish the number of voters as they were on 30 May, then acknowledge that they eventually removed deceased voters afterwards. Otherwise, if ZEC insists, it simply means that ZEC violated the law by deleting voters prior to gazetting the intention to remove them” read the report.
Team Pachedu revealed that ZEC had relied on the preliminary report of last year’s national population and housing census when they conducted a delimitation exercise.
Questions were also raised on the process ZEC used in mapping out boundaries which brought new constituencies.
Team Pachedu accused ZEC of gerrymandering in carrying out delimitation in Epworth where an excessive number of people were moved.
“Ward 1, an opposition stronghold, had the highest number of voters in Epworth, but ZEC has removed four times more than what they were supposed to remove there by partially splitting the ward between Epworth North and South. This borders on gerrymandering given the fact that the other opposition stronghold Ward 6 (now 7), also in Epworth North, has been needlessly expanded into Ward 4.
“Despite the population of Harare Having increased by129,221voters since 2008, it is illogical that ZEC had the audacity to reduce the number of wards from the 46 that were assigned in 2008 down to 45 instead of increasing the number of wards to accommodate the rise in the number of voters,” read the report in part.
ZEC is racing against time to complete the delimitation exercise which might be stifled as calls are growing for the electoral mother body to rework.