Opposition leader Linda Masarira says the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) does not have enough time to resolve the issues raised by stake in the delimitation report.
“Constitutionally, the delimitation report should be published by 28 January 2023 if the new delimited ward and constituency boundaries are to used in the harmonized elections to be held this year.
“Section 161(2) of the constitution of Zimbabwe states that the delimitation report must be completed and published at least six months before the polling day of a general election if the new boundaries should be used for that election,”Masarira opined.
The outspoken Labour, Economic and Afrikan Democrats (LEAD) says even with the affirmation of polls dates, it won’t be feasible again for ZEC to finalise the process.
“General elections polling day this year should be earliest 28 July 2023 section 158(1) of the constitution and latest when the current parliament term ends on 26 August 2023.
“If polling day is set to be 26 August then the delimitation report should be published by 26 February 2022. I don’t see ZEC being able to redo the delimitation exercise within a month,” she added.
Is Suspending Elections An Option?
She asserts that the only sensible option is for the electoral body to suspend elections and puts its house in order.
“The sham job that ZEC did with the delimitation report raises eyebrows on whether they really have the capacity to run elections in Zimbabwe.
“The only option left is to postpone elections and allow ZEC and key stakeholders to do aa proper delimitation exercise which is also guided by the census report which is still yet to be published,” Masarira believes.
The opposition leader highlighted that ZEC is in a fix as it can’t revert to the 2018 elections boundaries.
“It is not possible to revert to the 2018 boundaries as it can be challenged in a court of law. The boundaries used in 2018 elections were set in 2008 which means that they have expired,” the LEAD president said.
According to an analysis on the preliminary delimitation report by the Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (ZESN), the electoral body is still mandated by the constitution to ignore recommendations and run with the same report for the coming polls.
“The President referred back the ZEC preliminary delimitation report to the
Commission so that it gives further consideration to the issues concerned.
” In terms of the Constitution, the Commission’s decision on the Reportis final.
“This means the Commission can decide to ignore the issues raised and stick to the contents raised,” says ZESN.