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Zimbabwe Parliament to Retain 210 Seats As Opposition Questions Delimitation Process

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission says Harare has over 950,000 regisetred voters.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission says Harare has over 950,000 regisetred voters.

WASHINGTON - Zimbabwe’s preliminary delimitation report was tabled in parliament Friday with indications that the country’s constituencies will remain at 210 seats for the next 10 years if adopted by the legislature.

Some Members of Parliament say they are not happy with the way the delimitation process was conducted and the composition of an ad hoc committee set to analyze the report and present it to the House of Assembly next Friday.

They also want the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, which drew the new boundaries, to explain their delimitation process.

The delimitation report indicates that some constituencies collapsed and new ones were created in several regions due to low numbers of voters.

In general, according to the report, no voters were moved from their polling stations and registered voters in each ward and constituency will vote at their usual polling stations although their ward number or name of constituency may have changed.

“It is also important to note that wards and constituencies in sparsely populated areas are larger in aerial extent since they have to draw their population from large areas due to low population densities e.g., wildlife conservancies and large commercial farming areas. Conversely, wards and constituencies in densely populated areas are relatively small in aerial extent e.g., peri-urban and urban areas.

“The shape, aerial extent and distribution of some wards and constituencies changed due to variation in the distribution of registered voters in provinces. Notable changes were observed in the following provinces: i) Bulawayo: Seven constituencies were reconfigured and renamed as follows: Bulawayo North, Cowdry Park, Emakhandeni-Luveve Entumbane- Njube, Lobengula-Magwegwe Mpopoma-Mzilikazi and Pelandaba- Tshabalala.”

In Harare, three constituencies were created from Harare South constituency namely Churu, Harare South and Hunyani. An additional constituency was created in Epworth resulting in Epworth North and Epworth South Constituency. Harare North was reconfigured and renamed to Hatcliffe constituency.

In Manicaland Province, Musikavanhu and Chipinge West were merged to create Chipinge west Constituency. The collapsed constituency formed Chikanga Constituency after Dangamvura-Chikanga was split due to high population.

In Mashonaland East, three constituencies namely Chikomba Central, Chikomba East, Chikomba West were reconfigured due to low registered voter population. As a result Chikomba Central was collapsed and two Constituencies remain namely Chikomba East and Chikomba West.

Gutu South in Masvingo was collapsed and merged with other existing constituencies due to low registered voter population which failed to meet the minimum threshold for a constituency.

“However the collapsed constituency was replaced by the creation of a new Chiredzi Central Constituency. In the same vein Zaka East and Zaka West were collapsed and reconfigured to form a new Zaka South Constituency. One of the collapsed constituencies was replaced by the creation of a new Mwenezi North constituency. In effect the Province retained its previously allocated 26 constituencies.”

In Matabeleland South, the province had very low numbers of registered voters therefore it was allocated 12 constituencies after Bulilima East was collapsed to meet the minimum threshold.

Mberengwa South constituency in Midlands province was collapsed and three constituencies now remain - Mberengwa East, Mberengwa West and Mberengwa Central. This collapsed constituency was replaced by the creation of a new Mkoba North constituency.

ZEC says, … Delimitation seeks to ensure equality of voting strength and the key determinant considered for the realisation of this objective is the number of registered voters. In February and April 2022, the Commission conducted phase 1 and 2 of the mobile voter registration exercise in preparation for the delimitation exercise. The voters’ roll for delimitation closed on 30 May 2022 and as at that date, the country had 5 804 376 registered voters compared to 5 612 464 registered voters in 2007/8.

“An inspection of the voters roll was conducted to allow voters to inspect the voters roll and to make corrections before this national figure was arrived at. The table below represents the National and Provincial Voter Population Totals as at 30 May 2022.”