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Delimitation: A scheme by Zanu-PF to maintain two-thirds majority in Parliament

A research by the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) has established that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)’s final delimitation report gazetted by President Emmerson Mnangagwa is a Zanu-PF scheme for maintaining a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

Mnangagwa, last week on Monday gazetted the constituency Delimitation Report by the ZEC, setting the stage for crunch harmonised general elections expected later this year.

The report has attracted divided criticism from both the ruling party and the opposition.

ZDI said the report can “best be understood as a Zanu-PF scheme for maintaining a two-thirds majority in Parliament.”

“The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) final delimitation report gazetted by President Mnangagwa on the 20th of February 2023 can best be understood as a ZANU PF scheme for maintaining a two-thirds majority in Parliament,” read part of the ZDI report.

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“Three observations in the ZEC’s final delimitation report corroborate this argument. First is that ZEC deliberately applies 2007/8 total seats per province as its basis in coming up with the 2023 framework for allocating constituencies and sticks to its erroneous application of section 161(6).

“There is no justifiable reason for adopting this framework other than the desire to avoid loss of constituencies from Zanu-PF stronghold provinces needed to secure a two-thirds majority in Parliament.”

Secondly, ZDI finds that ZEC disregarded adult population dynamics per province presented in the 2022 census when it allocated constituencies per province.

“If it was used, 7 seats were going to be transferred from Zanu-PF stronghold provinces to the opposition stronghold provinces.

“Third is that ZEC disregarded registered voter proportions per province in the total national voter population in coming up with its constituency allocation framework.

“If they were used as a basis for allocating constituencies per province, 3 constituencies were going to be transferred from Zanu-PF stronghold provinces to opposition stronghold provinces.”

Further read the report: “The purpose of delimitation is to ensure proportional representation of the adult population per province in Parliament. The ZEC delimitation report defeats this purpose. ZEC states on page ix that delimitation seeks to ensure equality of voting strength determined by the number of “registered voters”. However, an analysis of the total number of seats (constituencies) allocated per province shows that ZEC accepted this objective of delimitation but acted the opposite way through manipulation and gerrymandering.”

Delimitation is carried out once every ten years following a census.

It is the process of dividing the country into constituencies and wards for purposes of elections to constituency seats in the National Assembly and of councillors to local authorities. The process is carried out in terms of sections 160 and 161 of the new Constitution.

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