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President needs to reconsider delimitation report

Editorial Comment
President Emmerson Mnangagwa hands over the 2023 delimitation report toZimbabwe Electroral Commission chairperson Priscilla Chigumba.

EVER since President Emmerson Mnangagwa gazetted the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)’s final delimitation report last week on Monday, there has been heated debate as scores of constitutional experts as well as ordinary nationals voiced their concerns over the manner in which the report was gazetted and its very contents.

The flurry of criticism appears to be growing louder each passing day, despite Zec insisting that the upcoming council and parliamentary elections will be conducted under the wards and constituencies delimited in the gazetted report, which is currently being hotly disputed.

Latest concerns from stakeholders are that the variation in the number of voters in constituencies is so great that it violates the country’s supreme law.

For example, one urban constituency in Bulawayo has 22 125 voters, while another urban constituency in Harare has 33 153 voters, giving a variation of 33%, which is way above the Constitution’s recommended 20%.

This simple observation means that proceeding to polls given such glaring anomalies is clearly and blatantly unconstitutional. It is extremely worrying that Zec appears determined to conduct the elections using this obviously flawed document.For the President to agree to gazette this defective delimitation report is more than disquieting.

Does this, therefore, mean that Mnangagwa is not bothered about this very damaging situation?

We thought he was staunchly a listening President and so soft as wool that he would intently pay attention to his subjects’ cries over the cardinal sins that have been committed by Zec right under his nose. How can the President be so blind to such an anomaly that can deal a fatal blow to his reputation?

Seven Zec commissioners, out of nine, warned him long before the draft delimitation report was presented to him that there was a lot wrong with the processes that created the report and we thought he would have taken time to get to the bottom of their concerns.

We sincerely believe that the seven commissioners and all the concerned stakeholders do not wish the President ill, but are genuinely disturbed by the turn of events regarding the forthcoming general elections as far as the delimitation is concerned.

Many are also genuinely extremely troubled that Zec has all along been acting like a lone ranger, yet, as the commissioners rightly told the President, the electoral body was supposed to consult all stakeholders during the delimitation process.

Surely, can the President afford to choose to haughtily throw caution to the wind and proceed to elections using a delimitation report that is evidently unconstitutional and being disputed even by many in his own ruling Zanu PF party?

This will be unprecedented for the second republic, which swore to the whole world that it was ushering in a brand new dispensation and that the President would personally be an apostle of the gospel of the rule of law by religiously abiding by the tenets of the country’s Constitution.

What will the world think of him if he adamantly proceeds to elections using an obviously poisoned delimitation report? If, indeed, the President is not bothered by all this, then we rest our case.

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