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Letters: Delimitation report: Unpacking the facts

Letters to the Editor

THE Constitution in section 2 is very clear that it is the supreme law of Zimbabwe and any law, practice, custom or conduct inconsistent with it is invalid. However, it became apparent during the delimitation exercise that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) did not follow the law.

To that end, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has petitioned the Constitutional Court challenging Zec’s delimitation report primarily based on the breaches that Zec committed in coming up with the report.

Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba presented to President Emmerson Mnangagwa the final delimitation report as per constitutional requirement. However, seven commissioners said the report was a product of the chairperson and her deputy.

Parliament appointed an ad hoc committee to analyse the report to see if it was in breach of country’s Constitution, especially section 161 which states the boundaries of constituencies and wards must be such that, so far as possible, at the time of delimitation equal number of voters are registered in each constituency. 

The ConCourt challenge

The MDC as a responsible juristic person, an organisation with  structures, a constitution that gives it the right to sue or be sued and its president Douglas Mwonzora have petitioned the ConCourt seeking that Zec be ordered to  adhere to the Constitution and  produce a delimitation report that respects equality of the vote. 

Our arguments — constituency discrepancies and variance

Constituencies around the country have different numbers surpassing the 20% threshold as required by law and the evidence is listed below:

Census argument

Section 161 of the Constitution requires that for any delimitation process to take place it must be based on the census results. Census is not just the counting of people but it also involves the processing of the data and then declaring of figures. This process has not been done. 

The controversial delimitation report is based on preliminary figures, which means the figures are temporary and cannot be relied upon for such a delicate process.

Delimitation reports are not just for electoral purposes but for the distribution of national resources under a devolved system of government which the MDC intends to implement if elected into power.

If the current delimitation report is allowed to stand, it means that the gain per capita for people in Chimanimani will be less than for those in Makoni West. 

This delimitation report will affect two general elections, exacerbating the suffering of those already marginalised by the politics of hate and rancour in this country for the past 25 years.

In Bulawayo, 3 500 housing units were omitted in this process and the trend is common across the country, resulting in over 400 000 voters being omitted or hidden somewhere as a stash to give certain candidates an advantage before voting even begins.

The gerrymandering in urban centres is very clear for all to see, as one can tell that  constituencies in Harare have already been won by Zanu PF five months before the election and these are Hunyani, Hatcliff, Harare South, Epworth North and South, and Churu. 

The delimitation exercise gave a false impression as one seat was added to Harare while six seats were given to Zanu PF in the opposition stronghold and the ruling party was given all seats on a silver platter in its strongholds.

In Manicaland, another shenanigan was pulled off by dividing Dangamvura-Chikanga. This is just one seat and they made sure that almost everything remained as it was.

Co-ordinates instead of polling station names

The circus continues as Zec did not name polling stations by name but by co-ordinates and cryptic codes, something that has never happened in the history of elections in this country. 

How many people will be able to identify their polling stations on the day of voting using this system? 

Now other pundits and analysts are suggesting that we go back to the 2008 boundaries, but again this is not practical because these are 15 years old and a person who was 15 then is now 30 years old and may no longer be in the same constituency or even in Zimbabwe. A lot has changed since then.

Basis for rejection of 2008 boundaries

Secondly, the delimitation process was done by the delimitation commission which then was chaired by Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede under the Lancaster House Constitution, using a disputed voters roll and the green voting cards which are no longer valid under the new Constitution and the new biometric voters roll.

Any attempt to use the 2008 boundaries is tantamount to reinstating Mudede, his delimitation commission and the National Elections Directorate which then had members such as Augustine Chihuri and other dreaded securocrats of an old and decadent past. 

It would also mean reinstating the voters roll and the Lancaster House Constitution,

which is not practical.

This battle is not for votes as already cited, but for the much-needed reforms and a fair playing field and impartiality of Zec and to test our own Constitution.

The MDC has taken electoral matters to court before. 

Our late president Morgan Tsvangirai sued the government, Zanu PF and the electoral body in 2002 and up to now the verdict is not yet out.

In 2005, losing MDC parliamentary candidates took their cases to court also, in 2008 again the MDC and Tsvangirai took their electoral case to court although we later withdrew.

In 2013, the MDC under Nelson Chamisa also took Zec to court over flawed electoral processes.

The only difference is that this time we have approached the courts soon after we unearthed the gerrymandering, a rigging system being put in place before the election. In the past we challenged the process after the election even when we knew and have uncovered a lot of irregularities. 

This time we cannot walk blindly into a snare simply because people will label us cowards.  - Lloyd Damba,  MDC presidential spokesperson 

Heads must roll over Al Jazeera documentary

ZIMBABWE Natural Resources Forum is a coalition of voices on common  issues relating to the use, governance, marketing and exploitation of natural resources. Anything that has to do with gold, diamonds, chrome, platinum etc calls for the voices of ZNRF. 

The coming out of the  Al Jazeera documentary tagged Gold Mafia is so disturbing. The government  must take action against those implicated. We are kindly requesting the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo to take the lead in prosecuting the said looters. The country is said to be losing billions of dollars daily and that cannot be allowed to go on unchecked. 

We appeal to all relevant mineral regulating agencies and bodies to start demanding justice transparency in the exploitation and marketing of minerals in Zimbabwe. We urge government to release a statement  on the allegations. 

As ZNRF we want to see heads rolling and the return of the looted resources to the State, and all the people found guilty imprisoned. - ZNRF

IN response to Shadowy group runs Zanu PF polls, WILLIAM MURINGAYI says: Those who have eyes to see can judge what is happening in Zimbabwe. Our biggest problem are people who are benefiting from corruption and the greedy defending it with dirty money from gold mafias. Even prophets are also involved in the gold mafia deals. Those who are benefiting from corruption are against accountability. 

NANETTE ALLMARK says: Everything about Zanu PF is shadowy. They are against transparency.

IN response to Zambia Airways reintroduces Lusaka-Harare flights, NCUZ KEV says: Flying between three airports a day is very expensive. Planes don’t land and take-off for free, that is what caused Air Namibia to go bust. It kept low fares and yet its running costs were too high. The Namibian government kept on bailing it out until it let go, as it was no longer sustainable to continue operating the airline.

IN response to Munetsi calls out SRC, Zifa, again, FREEMAN MAPFUWA says: Good cause for young and up-and-coming talent. The young needs exposure to the world. Thank you Marshal Munetsi, you are a visionary. 

ALLEN T HLAMBELO says: Keep pushing my brother Marshal Munetsi, we need our Warriors back in football competitions.

MREHWAH RUSHY says: The Premier Soccer League, divisions and all other stakeholders, it’s high time we pressured Sports and Recreation Commission to stop its madness.

SHEPERD KUZIVA MARIMBIRE  says: Why are all soccer-loving people just quiet? We should be on the streets demanding change in the management of our football for the good of our children’s future.

IN response to As guns flow into Zim, armed robberies spike, HENRY KUNENE says: Zimbabweans will never wake up. Maybe the next generation. The leadership we have is a true reflection of who we are as people. A corrupt generation is led by a corrupt leadership. The leadership in a nation reflects the calibre of people in a country. Zimbabweans are docile.

THELIGHT CHIPOFYA says: As a Zimbabwean, I don’t recognise Al Jazeera’s documentary as long as sanctions are not lifted.

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