Legal think tank Veritas has indicated that the delimitation report published last Tuesday in the government gazette by President Emmerson Mnangagwa excluded the new boundaries that culminated from the delimitation exercise.
Delimitation is the redrawing of electoral boundaries to guarantee equal voting strength among constituencies and wards. However, a 20 percent variance is acceptable.
According to the constitution the delimitation exercise is held after every 10 years and the just concluded exercise is the first to be conducted after the enactment of the 2013 constitution.
The last exercise was conducted before the 2008 elections.
After closing the voters roll in May last year, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) conducted the delimitation exercise and handed the preliminary delimitation report last December to President Emmerson Mnangagwa. The report was later tabled in parliament.
Section 161 (11) of the constitution dictates that the president must publish a proclamation announcing the new boundaries established from the delimitation exercise.
However, Veritas insists that the final delimitation report that was gazette earlier this week was missing crucial information.
“Note that the President is not expected to publish the delimitation report itself; he is supposed to “declare the names and boundaries of the wards and constituencies”.
“In fact, the President did publish the report, but he left out the most important part, the one that sets out electoral boundaries,” argued Veritas in the recent election watch.
The constitution goes on to say that the delimitation report should be gazetted six months before the next elections. Therefore, the missing information according to Veritas must be gazetted as soon as possible.
“The first error we have noted – non-publication of electoral boundaries – can be corrected quickly if the President issues a new proclamation setting out Annexure B of ZEC’s final report.
“Any correction must be published by the 26th of February, however, if the new delimitation is to be used for the forthcoming general election,” said Veritas.
Time will tell whether or not the 26th of February deadline will be met.