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Delimitation: New flaws unearthed



AN audit by advocacy group Team Pachedu has unearthed gross miscalculations and errors in the preliminary delimitation report presented to President Emmerson Mnangagwa by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.


The glaring shortcomings range from missing data and ghost constituencies to huge statistical discrepancies, which Pachedu says makes the report beyond redemption. Last week, Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda presented Parliament’s report after legislators extensively debated the Zec document.

Despite the flaws largely pointed out by various legal think-tanks, the report was supported by the predominately Zanu PF ad hoc committee appointed to look into the report.

Pachedu said Zec should act fast to address the flaws, as this may have a negative effect on electoral processes over the next decade.

 “While Zec might attempt to superficially window-dress these irregularities without addressing the underlying problems, the effects of this sham delimitation will persist and haunt Zimbabweans for the next 10 years.

“Unfortunately, most of the changes made during the delimitation tend to disadvantage the opposition than they do to Zanu PF. This brings into question the credibility of the entire delimitation process given that it fails to meet the general fairness standards,” Pachedu said.

Ghost constituencies Findings contained in the report titled: Abridged Audit of the Zimba[1]bwe Electoral Commission’s 2022 Delimitation Report showed ghost constituencies, which has seen the total number exceed the constitutional threshold of 210.

“We found instances where Zec used con[1]stituency boundaries to demarcate two dubious constituencies in Manicaland Province, making the total number of constituencies 212. In addition, there was no data in the report which justified the existence of these two constituencies.

“Upon further inquiry, we identified the first one as being Chipinge Rural District Council Ward 4. Zec demarcated the ward as an independent stand-alone constituency. This is inaccurate. As a matter of fact, from the Ward map, this phantom constituency is Chipinge RDC,” read the report.

The report showed an error that led to the creation of Buhera South, one of the ghost constituencies, which was labelled on both the ward and national assembly delimitation maps as Buhera Central constituency.

“In the process, Zec created two Buhera Central constituencies when they should be just one. Buhera Central should be comprised of 8 wards {2, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 32}.

“However, the delimitation maps show two Buhera Centrals and both are demarcated and labelled as constituencies. The first one is com[1]prised of 7 wards {2, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 32}, while the second one has just one ward {24}. This technically makes both constituencies in[1]consistent with the data presented in the preliminary delimitation report on page 85 where Buhera Central constituency was defined as being composed of 8 wards, not one and not seven,” read the report.

In another error, Zec identified Seke as being a constituency, with it missing on the constituencies map.

“Seke East as a constituency has never exist[1]ed, does not exist and was not mentioned anywhere in the preliminary delimitation report. This constituency only exists on both the ward map and the national assembly map which Zec provided.

“The plausible match is Seke Constituency which was missing on the maps, but was listed in the delimitation report.

Given that the maps do not have any other directional variant of Seke (for example, Seke West). It is possible that this discrepancy might have arisen due to human error and poor data quality assurance mechanisms at Zec,” according to the report.

Voter population discrepancies

More findings have also showed discrepancies in voter population against aggregated ward population, which has seen the total voter population being understated by over 6 000 voters.

Aggregated ward population refers to the combined total number of voters from all constituencies. Information gathered by Pachedu showed discrepancies in five out of 10 provinces which has shown an inconsistency in the total number of voters.

For instance, Mashonaland Central province with a 536 463 voters had a ward-aggregation voter population of 529 371, giving a difference of 7 092. “In the delimitation report, Zec presented the 1 970 wards by Local Authority and their respective voter populations.

Zec also presented the distribution of the same wards by constituency. “None of the totals matched the overall official total population of 5,804,376 voters.

The national voter population based the local authority ward data was 5,806,485 while disaggregated constituency ward voter population was now 5,805,703, a fifth total,” according to the report,” Pachedu said.

Ghost and missing polling stations

The report also showed some of the constituencies missing in the delimitation report, but were indicated on the provincial maps, thereby fuelling more inconsistencies. “In the delimitation report, Zec listed the polling stations for each and every ward.

 However, this data failed to tally with the maps which Zec provided as there were missing polling stations on many of the wards.

 “On page 181 of the delimitation report, Zec states that Mutoko RDC Ward 13 has 2,619 registered voters and that there are three polling areas.

 However, from the maps provided, these polling stations were completely missing. There were also cases where the polling stations listed were partly present on the maps, but did not tally.

 “In the delimitation report, Zec reported some polling area codes twice. We identified 55 duplicate polling stations. Of these, 23 were duplicated within the same ward, while the other 32 were duplicated across different wards. This is very problematic since all polling stations should have a unique code,” according to the report.

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