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Parly ad hoc committee highlights grave errors in Zec report



THE parliamentary ad hoc committee tasked with analysing the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s draft delimitation report has highlighted grave errors in the document, including Zec’s failure to stick to the 20% variance threshold in populations of respective constituencies.


However, while presenting its findings in Parliament on Friday, the ad hoc committee through its chairperson and Gutu South MP Pupurai Togarepi, pointed out that the errors can be remedied before a final report can be prepared by Zec.

“The committee’s findings in its analysis of the 2022 preliminary delimitation report provide a basis for its conclusion on the 2022 preliminary report on the delimitation exercise.”

“While the Committee appreciates that it is not possible for Zec to meet the expectations of all the stakeholders in this exercise, it is the committee’s considered view that all the issues raised in this report, particularly those that are inconsistent with provisions of section 161 of the constitution, will be resolved before the finalisation of the report on the delimitation exercise,” Togarepi told the august House.

He reiterated that as espoused in section 119 of the constitution, Parliament has an obligation to protect the supreme law and ensure that the state and agencies of government at every level act constitutionally and in the national interest.

As earlier highlighted by parliamentary watchdog Veritas, the ad hoc committee found out that in Zec’s draft delimitation report, some constituencies and wards had up to 40% variance instead of the maximum 20% specified in the constitution.

“The committee noted that the formula or criteria used as well as justifications of the decisions were not provided. The observation of the committee was that there was possible misinterpretation by Zec of the 20% variance provision in sub-section (6) as some wards and constituencies ended up having a variance of up to 40%. This therefore, defeats the spirit of the constitution in trying to achieve equality of voters,” reads the report.

The committee highlighted a number of constituencies and wards where the 20% threshold was surpassed.

In Manicaland province, the committee found out that in Makoni West constituency, ward 12 was delimited at 3 274 above the maximum threshold of 3 185.

Ward 16 in the same constituency was delimited at 3 226 above the maximum threshold of 3 185.

In Mashonaland East constituency, ward 9 of Marondera municipality was delimited at 3 057 above the threshold of 3 051.

In Mashonaland West, Zvimba Rural District Council’s ward 1 was delimited at 4 675 above the permissible maximum threshold of 3 912.

The committee also picked that in Matabeleland North, Hwange West constituency’s ward 2 was delimited at 2 267 above the maximum threshold of 2 211. Zec also used a wrong maximum threshold of 2 211 instead of 2 188, but the wards were still above the maximum threshold of both values.

Several other discrepancies were noted in other wards from Manicaland, Mashonaland Central, Matabeleland North and South.

The annexure to the report also demonstrated more on how the standard deviation in certain instances was well above the 20% variance.

The committee also raised concerns in 14 constituencies.

Zec pointed out in its report that Gutu South was collapsed because it did not meet the required threshold to make a constituency, but the committee found out that none of the constituencies in the whole of Gutu district met the minimum required threshold at the time electoral body conducted the delimitation exercise save for Gutu West.

Gutu South had 18 453 registered voters, Gutu East 16, 822 and Gutu North 15,359.

“Zec was supposed to abide by the principle of fairness and use similar formula which it was using in other provinces, constituencies and wards that those with low registered voters than the others in the same constituency or province would be collapsed to give in to those that had more registered votersas at the time Zec conducted its delimitation exercise.”

“Community of interest of the between registered voters in Gutu South was not considered as some registered under a certain chief are now under two different constituencies,” reads the report.

The ad hoc committee also noted that in Mberengwa East there was unjustified movement of Musiiwa polling station from Ward 4 Bikita West to Bikita South constituency and recommended that Musiiiwa polling station be returned to Ward 5.

In Binga North, the committee expressed concern over why Zec did not create three constituencies when the numbers allowed.

The total voter population in Binga North was 81 118, and if three constituencies were created, the average constituency would have averaged 27 039 voters.

In Zvishavane Runde, the committee made a proposal for wards 1,2,3,4 and 9 to be retained and move Hwani Village from ward 13 to ward 8, Hwande and Mugabe villages from ward 2 to ward 1 Chikuni, Mafurire and Masuna Villages to ward 2, Ndebvu, Ndirishe and Dumbu from ward 9 to ward 4, and moving villages 11, 13, 14 from ward 14 to ward 9.

The committee also made recommendation that in Zvishavane Ngezi, 10 000 voters be moved to beef up numbers in Mberengwa and create one constituency called Mberengwa-Zvishavane.

“The committee recommends that Zec should take due regard to the census population in its totality in the delimitation exercise and not just the adult population. Zec was supposed to use the final census results. This is because wards and constituencies serve other purposes apart from elections, for instance, distribution of devolution funds and constituency development funds,” reads part of the report.

The committee also recommended that where the factor of community of interest between registered voters was not considered, Zec should revisit the factor and ensure that the it is taken into consideration.

“Zec should ensure that there is equal number of voters in constituencies or wards as provided for in terms of section 161 (3) and (4) of the constitution. Where there was a departure from the permissible variance of lower and upper limit of 20%, Zec should rectify and ensure that it remains within the allowable variance,” said the committee.

The committee also said that where collapsing of constituencies that had more voters was done to give in to those that had fewer voters, Zec should use the same principle of maintaining those with more votes and collapse those with fewer voters.

“Zec should ensure that there is equal number of voters in constituencies or wards as provided for in terms of section 161 (3) and (4) of the constitution. Where there was a departure from the permissible variance of lower and upper limit of 20%, Zec should rectify and ensure that it remains within the allowable variance,” said the committee.

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