The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has come under fire from community-based organizations (CBOs) for conducting a delimitation exercise that ignored stakeholders.
Speaking to Open Parly ZW, Chipinge-based Platform for Youth and Community Development director Claris Madhuku said ZEC compromises its role of independence when it conducted the delimitation exercise without consulting key stakeholders.
“The delimitation process is being overseen by ZEC, which should act like an independent body and inspire public trust in how it will conduct the elections that are due later this year.
The delimitation process is being overseen by ZEC, which should act like an independent body and inspire public trust in how it will conduct the elections that are due later this year.
“Politicians are the ones who are speaking out the loudest in the issue that has already been sparked by controversy.
“We would want as CBOs to ensure that this process is participatory, inclusive and transparent so that we get results that are largely endorsed by the public.
Furthermore, Madhuku said involvement CBO’s in the delimitation was critical because the boundaries will affect distribution of services.
“The delimitation process does not only serve as boundaries for election purposes only but it also serves to create communities that receive services from government and humanitarian aid organisations.
It also seeks to bring people with similar characteristics, either as families, tribes and districts.
“We want to bring it on record that as CBOs, we may need an enabling environment so that at least we make the public aware on how they should also participate so that it becomes a process that unites rather than divides the nation.
“So precisely, we need access to information for example here in Chipinge we used to have 5 constituencies which have been reconfigured to 4 and people are not aware which of their wards have been shifted,” added Madhuku.
According to Wedza Residents Development Initiative Trust (WERDIT) director George Makoni said the delimitation process was ‘elitist’.
“The current delimitation report is an elitist document that excluded the general citizenry during the ZEC consultative process.
“In essence, ZEC did this unilaterally that is why even major political parties have reservations over the report.
“I guess this was a result of fast tracking the delimitation process given the little timeframe ahead of the impending 2023 plebiscite,” said Makoni.
Additionally, the Zimbabwe Activists Alliance leader, Tendai Lynette Mudehwe had no kind words for ZEC, calling their work “hurried and poor” and a threat to national security.
The electoral body is accused of contravening Section 62 of the constitution on access to information which public bodies are mandated to provide to ensure accountability and transparency.