Delimitation of constituencies begins

Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter

The delimitation of constituencies, wards and other electoral boundaries for elections over the next decade, including the 2023 harmonised elections, will begin next Wednesday, running through to December 31, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba has said.

Justice Chigumba announced the dates in General Notice 1147B of 2022 cited as the Delimitation of Constituencies, wards and other electoral boundaries.

Generally several criteria are used to delimit boundaries. So far as possible National Assembly constituencies should have equal numbers of voters, although district and especially provincial boundaries need to be taken into account, along with other community interests. Wards cannot be split between constituencies and as far as possible districts should not be split unless there is no other way of getting the reasonable equality of numbers. No constituency crosses a provincial boundary.

“The gazetting of the dates is provided for in terms of terms of the national Constitution which states that, “once every 10 years, on a date or within a period fixed by the ZEC so as to fall soon as possible after a population census, the ZEC must conduct a delimitation of electoral boundaries into which Zimbabwe is to be divided”.

Zimbabwe conducted a housing and population census this year from April 21 to May 5 and preliminary results are expected in August.

In the General Notice, Justice Chigumba said: “The public is hereby notified of the Commission’s intention to commence the delimitation of boundaries and other electoral boundaries. Notwithstanding the date of publication of this Notice, the process of boundary delimitation shall commence from the 1st of June, 2022, and continue into the culmination of the drafting of a preliminary report or until the 31st of December, 2022, whichever occurs first.

“In terms of section 161(7) of the Constitution, at the conclusion of the boundary delimitation, the Commission shall produce and submit to the President a preliminary report.”

The report has to contain a list of the wards and constituencies, with the names assigned to each and a description of their boundaries, maps showing the wards and constituencies, and any further information or particulars which the Commission considers necessary.

“For the purpose of the boundary delimitation, the voters roll shall be deemed to be closed on May 30, 2022, but voter registration shall, however, remain open for purposes of any by-elections that may become necessary and the 2023 general elections,” said Justice Chigumba.

She said the voters roll inspections can be done on dates to be notified and thereafter, ZEC shall issue a notice specifying the national and provincial voter population figures to be used for purposes of the delimitation of boundaries.

During the process, ZEC shall also entertain representations from voters, political parties and other interested persons and bodies at national, provincial and district level through the various committees that have been established at each level and will establish a toll free line to hear and receive representation from the public.

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