ZIMBABWE’S former Parliamentary and Constitutional Affairs minister, Eric Matinenga (pictured), a senior ex-MDC-T official, has described as “dishonest” the declaratur sought by MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora to have the delimitation report nullified, while general elections are postponed.
This week, Mwonzora made an application to the constitutional court seeking to nullify the delimitation report, saying it was not constitutional.
While it was constitutional for Mwonzora to file an application over the report which has been seriously riddled with errors, Matinenga said the demand to have elections postponed is wrong.
“Have not read the full Constitutional Court application by Mwonzora, yet, save for paragraphs 1 & 2 shown on this platform. The delimitation report is a mess, both in terms of process and substance. It must be set aside.
“The consequential relief sought in paragraph 2 is, in my view, dishonest. Section 161(2) of the constitution provides for the use of ‘boundaries that existed immediately before the delimitation are applicable’.
“The relief which the application should seek therefore is not to postpone the election but for the 2008 boundaries to be used,” Matinenga said on social media.
Analysts have also rendered the delimitation report unconstitutional over the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)’s decision to retain flaws flagged in the preliminary delimitation report presented to President Emmerson Mnangagwa in December. The delimitation report gazetted by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in February has in some cases retained a ward and constituency population threshold of over 20% — in violation of the constitution — which has in the past been condemned by experts.
The final report has also failed to declare ward and constituency boundaries, which is contrary to section 161 (11) of the constitution.
“Within fourteen days after receiving the Zec’s final report, the President must publish a proclamation in the Gazette declaring the names and boundaries of the wards and constituencies as finally determined by the commission,” reads the constitution.
Last week, civil society group Team Pachedu discovered that some coordinates which Zec used in delimiting some wards for the upcoming August elections were from the far-flung, remote, virtually uninhabitable Antarctica, further exposing electoral fraud.
Located at the South Pole, Antarctica is the world’s fifth-largest continent, a vast land mass almost entirely covered with ice and surrounded by ocean, unlike the Arctic region, which is a frozen sea surrounded by land.
Why Zec chose Antarctica coordinates to delineate local Zimbabwean wards is a mystery, but the resultant fraud damages the credibility of the process. The parliamentary ad hoc committee on delimitation said Zec used a complicated, unworkable system.
“Zec had an option to use a simpler geographic coordinate system that represents location in terms of degrees, minutes, and seconds, such that users can simply enter the coordinates on google maps to identify locations in their respective wards and constituencies,” according to the ad hoc committee’s report.
Opposition MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora’s court application to have the flawed delimitation report nullified and elections postponed has provoked the proverbial post turtle question to know on whose behalf Mwonzora is acting.
While many agree the delimitation report is flawed and must be nullified, legal experts have been questioning the honesty of the relief he is seeking, on nullification of the report and postponement of elections.
In terms of the constitution, if the current delimitation boundaries do not apply in the upcoming polls, then elections must be held under the 2008 wards and constituencies map, contrary to postponing elections.
Mwonzora’s latest action has sparked heated debate on whether he is acting on his own behalf, which implies self-preservation, or he is acting for Mnangagwa, which means a clandestine political agenda to postpone elections.