Minister says Zanu PF to lead delimitation of constituencies; shock utterance seen to confirm 2023 rigging plot

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By James Muonwa I Mashonaland West Corespondent 

JUSTICE minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi, has all but confirmed rigging fears harboured by opposition parties, saying Zanu PF will lead the impending delimitation process to demarcate constituency boundaries for the upcoming 2023 harmonised elections.

According to electoral law, the process is the prerogative of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), a body whose independence and credibility to conduct free and fair polls has often been disputed by opposition parties and civic society.

Addressing Zanu PF Mashonaland West delegates attending a provincial coordinating committee (PCC) meeting held at Mazvikadei Resort over the weekend, Ziyambi insinuated the ruling party would gerrymander constituencies in order to retain power.

“We, as the governing party, will lead the delimitation process. You cannot say that you are ruling and do things that result in you getting out of power. There is no political party that boots itself out of power,” Ziyambi said.

“As Zanu PF, we must do things that we are all agreeable to as we come up with electoral boundaries. We will have another meeting to discuss how the delimitation process is going to be conducted.”

Delimitation of parliamentary constituencies is determined by the number of registered voters in an area.

Ziyambi, who is also Zvimba West legislator, said delimitation consultations within Zanu PF will soon be kick-started in Mashonaland West, before roll out to other nine provinces.

He hinted that the province, currently with 22 parliamentary seats, could have two or three additional seats created under the impending delimitation exercise.

Ziyambi’s remarks will worry the opposition ahead of the crunch 2023 vote in a country with a history of disputed election results over rigging allegations.

Delimitation is the process of dividing the country into constituencies and wards for the purposes of elections of persons to constituency seats in the National Assembly and of councillors to local authorities.

The process, a responsibility of ZEC, is carried out in terms of sections 160 and 161 of the new Constitution which does not envisage any role for a ruling party.

The electoral commission, which is supposed to be independent, has long faced allegations of being rigging elections in favour of Zanu PF which has ruled the country since independence in 1980.

Speaking ahead of the recent May by-elections Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa said government security agents had warned him of a rigging plot and that ZEC had been confronted over a “shambolic” voters’ roll.

“We should vote in numbers because it is difficult to rig when the turnout is huge,” Chamisa told supporters at a campaign rally in Harare.

“We are scrutinising the voters’ roll. If they don’t allow that we go to the courts. If the courts fail, we will go on the streets to demonstrate.”