ERC Director In Rare ZEC Defence
HARARE – Election Resource Centre (ERC) director Tawanda Chimhini says there was nothing wrong with a Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) delimitation process that places an urban suburb under a rural constituency.
This comes after the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) had questioned reports ZEC had decided to place Harare’s low density Mt Pleasant suburb under Mazowe rural constituency.
"In a surprising move that has left many baffled by the recently completed Zimbabwe Election Commission delimitation exercise, Mount Pleasant now falls under Mazowe South, a rural constituency serviced by Mazowe Rural District,” said CiZC in a statement posted on its Facebook page.
Although the pro-good governance group was yet reveal its source, Chimhini was still able to defend any such move saying this could be a result of mushrooming settlements on the city’s perimeters.
“It is very possible that settlements around the old Mt Pleasant may actually be in Mashonaland Central and those around Harare East could in fact be in Mashonaland East,” Chimhini said.
"It must be noted that new settlements have emerged around urban areas and some of these have developed outside the boundaries of towns but still serviced by the towns.
"Such expansion does not extend the boundaries at the last delimitation and these settlements, in terms of elections, must be within the confines of those boundaries," he said.
According to Chimhini, delimitation is the setting of new boundaries normally undertaken as close to a census as possible and the mapping of polling stations is the plotting of voting sites within prescribed boundaries.
He added, "The media and some sections of civil society have confused the two."
However, ZEC chairperson Rita Makarau is on record as saying the election management body will not undertake any delimitation exercise for the 2018 harmonised elections.
The constitution provides for the delimitation process and is carried out in terms of sections 160 and 161.
Although the constitution allows for the delimitation exercise to be carried out once every ten years, as long as it falls after a census, the country last conducted a census in 2012.
NGO's continue to blame ZEC for the secrecy surrounding their work.
Zanu PF opponents have often accused their common rival of dividing its strongholds into many constituencies while merging those known to be opposition strongholds.
Among some of the tactics allegedly used by the ruling party are the combining of urban constituencies with those of new settlements outside urban border areas to increase the Zanu PF vote during elections.