Zimbabwe: Zesn Pokes Holes in ZEC Delimitation Report

Harare (file photo).
30 January 2023

Election watchdog, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network says the delimitation report produced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) falls short of the required standards and there may be a need to redo the exercise since the formulae used, the manner the formulae were applied and some conclusions made are not correct.

So far, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has referred the ZEC preliminary delimitation report back to the Commission so that it considers the issues concerned.

However, in terms of the Constitution, ZEC's decision on the Report is final. This means the Commission can decide to ignore the issues raised and stick to the contents raised.

In its analysis of the report, ZESN emphasized that ZEC must finalize the delimitation exercise in time for elections while reiterating that failure is not an option since it would directly mean the failure of a constitutional body to deliver on its mandate.

Among several other irregularities weeded out, ZESN pointed out that the involvement of the Commission, the Parliament of Zimbabwe and the President creates a convergence between the Executive, the Legislature and an independent Chapter 12 institution.

"Accordingly, there is a real attempt at insulating the Commission from the politics of parliamentarians who are clearly conflicted as they stand to benefit or lose from the shape of constituency boundaries."

ZESN-Delimitation-Analysis-Report-FINAL-1DownloadZESN stated that proceeding to elections on the basis of a Delimitation Report with so many critical errors, is in breach of the principle of good governance, and in particular, adequate representation.

This follows a widespread rejection of the report by several civic society organisations and opposition parties.

The Political Actors Dialogue (Polad), which is composed of opposition party leaders that contested the 2018 polls and was set up by Mnangagwa, cast aspersions on the report saying the divisions within ZEC make the report dubious.

POLAD's governance and legislative agenda chairperson Lovemore Madhuku said there must be evidence that the delimitation outcome was a collective effort from Zec commissioners.

"The preliminary delimitation report doesn't pass the test set out in the constitution. Polad regards it as a failure on the part of Zec," Madhuku said.

"Polad is concerned about the internal governance of Zec. Under our constitution, Zec is a corporate body consisting of nine commissioners.

"The delimitation process cannot be the work of one or two commissioners; there must be clear evidence that all commissioners are involved at every stage of the process.

Bulawayo-based political analyst Effie Ncube said the divisions at Zec were not a good sign.

"The fact that other commissioners, the majority for that matter, distanced themselves from the report while only two commissioners were for the report is not a good sign for the efficient, effective and smooth functioning of such a crucial constitutional body," Ncube said.

"There is a need for them to quickly learn and implement the art of consensus building and democratic decision making."

Meanwhile, ZESN has called on ZEC to quickly and comprehensively address the fundamental flaws pointed out in its Preliminary Report so that the Final Report to be gazetted by the President is a true reflection of voter representativeness.

"What this implies is that ZEC must not ignore the several flaws and inconsistencies pointed out by stakeholders, including a special committee of Parliament. In specific terms, ZEC must take into account and consider recommendations from stakeholder consultative process," ZESN said.

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