‘Parly must craft Delimitation Act’

Parliament of Zimbabwe

PARLIAMENT has been urged to craft a Delimitation Act to avoid situations whereby the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) ends up coming up with shoddy work as it did on its recent preliminary delimitation report.

The suggestion was made yesterday by data analysts Project Vote 263, who told NewsDay that erroneous delimitation processes can only be curbed if there is a law governing the process.

Last week, legislators raised concerns over several errors on Zec’s preliminary delimitation report.

They also said the delimitation process was done without consultation, and it also ignored the recently released census report.

Project Vote 263 founder and human rights activist Youngerson Matete yesterday told NewsDay that Zec would continue with its “mischievous” behaviour if Parliament fails to come up with a Delimitation Act.

“The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission relies on the poorly-worded section 161(6) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and section 37A of the Electoral Act; the two laws don’t explicitly deal with delimitation. They don’t really explain in detail what should be done. So we need a Delimitation Act that can guide us on how the process should be done, and how it is going to be conducted. This is to say, they leave room for mischief or misinterpretation. It is important that the next Parliament comes up with a Delimitation Act to avoid future challenges,” Matete said.

“The Delimitation Act will also help in terms of setting up of a Delimitation Commission, which comprises technical experts such as lawyers, information communication technology gurus, statisticians etc. These experts are able to interpret the law better; they are able to use technology for mapping better, and are able to play with mathematical formulas better, unlike the current scenario where you see figures don't balance, what is on the map and on the report is contradictory, and there is poor interpretation of the law.”

Zimbabwe Election Advocacy Trust executive director Ignatious Sadziwa said: “In terms of improving those two laws, I feel there are loopholes there. Since our political environment is so polarised, the delimitation process will always be biased. There is a need to have a serious conversation around our current electoral system. So, I suggest that we need to change from the current first past the post electoral system to proportional representation which has less inclination to constituency boundaries. It is incumbent for academics and lawmakers to seriously consider that. Proportional representation systems have numerous advantages over the current system which is less inclusive and a winner takes all, which is the electoral system in South Africa.”

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