THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) claims that 40 000 people in Chingwizi ward in Masvingo have caused a major electoral poser, as the new Constitution forbids creation of new constituencies until after 10 years.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Zec chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau last week said the population at Chigwizi had risen significantly over the past three years to nearly 40 000 and should under normal circumstances be turned into a constituency.
She said her team, however, could not do anything because of constitutional clauses, which bar tampering with the current constituency and ward boundaries until the Constitution has clocked 10 years.
“We have that challenge, for instance, in Chingwizi owing to massive resettlement in the area. We have over 34 000 people in the ward. We know that with those numbers, it would qualify to be a constituency on its own,” she said.
Zec is currently engaged in a voter-mapping exercise, which will inform the electoral management body on how to allocate ballot papers and polling stations within the wards.
According to Justice Makarau, no ward polling station should have more than 1 400 registered voters to allow for easy management of the voting processes.
“The lower limit of voters at any polling station should be 1 000 and the maximum will be 1 500. However, Chingwizi presents a challenge,” she said.
Former Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister and top ZimPF official, Kudakwashe Basikiti, whose sub-committee has been overseeing the exercise on behalf of political parties, confirmed the population influx at Chingwizi.
“It is true, we noticed that numbers in Chingwizi have swelled to a point that it should now be a stand-alone constituency,” he said. The mapping exercise and verification is expected to be complete by January 31 to allow for voter registration using the new bio-metric voters’ roll system.