President receives delimitation report
Blessings Chidakwa Herald Reporter
The preliminary delimitation report, on how constituencies are allocated between provinces and how constituency and ward boundaries are redrawn to match population movements since the last delimitation, is now complete and was presented to President Mnangagwa yesterday by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
ZEC presented the report at State House to President Mnangagwa, who was in the company of Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who is acting while the President is on leave. However, only the President can accept the report in terms of the Constitution, hence President Mnangagwa had to break his leave to receive it.
Acting Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Mr George Charamba said the President received a copy of the preliminary delimitation report from the chairperson of the ZEC, Justice Priscilla Chigumba.
“In terms of the law, His Excellency is required to cause the report to be tabled before the Parliament of Zimbabwe within seven working days from the date of presentation of the said report,” he said.
Justice Chigumba said although the President was on leave, ZEC was grateful he took time to come and meet the commission so that the preliminary report could be presented.
“In terms of the Constitution, the preliminary report must and should be given to His Excellency the President. So we have done that,” she said.
Justice Chigumba said the report was presented within the set deadline. “In terms of the Constitution, the delimitation period which we commenced on June 1 2022 will officially end on December 31. We are obliged and required in terms of the Constitution, within that period and conclusion of that process, to come up with a report which we present to His Excellency,” she said.
Justice Chigumba said the President, after accepting the report has seven working days starting from tomorrow, which is the next official working day.
“He will have seven days to study it and cause it to be tabled before Parliament. Parliament has 14 days to raise concerns if there are any, which they forward to His Excellency the President.
“The President will then inform us which of those concerns have merit. We effect any corrections to the report and thereafter present the final delimitation report to His Excellency the President for gazetting,” she said.
Under the Constitution, the Commission must divide Zimbabwe into 210 constituencies and into the number of wards making up each local authority. So as far as possible, each constituency should have an equal number of registered voters, and each ward within a local authority should have an equal number of voters. No ward can straddle a constituency boundary.
ZEC has to also look at geographic features, community interests and communications when drawing up boundaries, so is allowed to vary the size of ward or constituency by up to 20 percent from the average to meet this extra requirement.
Justice Chigumba said the preliminary report contains among others, a presentation page outlining the provisions of the law in terms of which the report is presented to the President. The introduction outlines factors influencing delimitation, the delimitation formula and the rules used to guide the delimitation process, administration processes, publicity and stakeholder engagements, among other issues.
Then comes the result. The preliminary wards and constituencies are presented by province with each chapter highlighting the number of constituencies that have been delimited for the province and their names, the number of wards that have been delimited for each local authority in the province, and the summary boundary descriptions for these constituencies and wards.
The report details the full ward and constituency boundary descriptions as annexures to each provincial chapter, this includes provincial maps depicting constituency and ward boundaries, which form part of the preliminary report.
She assured the President that while there may be concerns by some stakeholders on how this process has been rolled out, the Commission did its utmost best, within the confines of the law, to take into account the concerns of all stakeholders who would be affected by the outcome.
“The Commission would like to thank the National Delimitation Committee, Government ministries and departments, traditional leaders, political parties, civil society organisations, the media and all stakeholders who contributed towards the successful conduct of the delimitation exercise.
“It is the Commission’s pleasure to note that the delimitation exercise was conducted within the parameters of the country’s laws and that the country’s citizens were involved as much as possible throughout the process,” said Justice Chigumba.