(Last Updated on January 12, 2023 by ZIMDAILY EDITOR)
HARARE – Former Energy minister and then opposition MDC-T senior leader -eventually leader of the splinter Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe – Elton Mangoma says the controversial delimitation process is riddled with errors, fundamentally flawed and unconstitutional.
This will further throw into chaos an exercise already damaged by observations of gerrymandering, malapportionment and political contestations, as well as fights over administrative and logistical issues that have led to divisions within the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).
Mangoma says the delimitation exercise is based on a wrong legal foundation and is mathematically flawed, hence unconstitutional.
Magoma writes: “I am in receipt of an electronic copy of the draft delimitation report intended to be used in the 2023 elections. I am responding to it as one of the numerate members tasked in the management of the current Zimbabwe constitution before its recent amendments.
“The aim is to • Show that Zec has misinterpreted section 161(3) and 161(6); making the draft delimitation report unconstitutional.• Show the correct interpretation of section 161(3) and 161(6) of the constitution.• Show the resultant effect of following the constitution.
“The aim of delimitation as in section 161(3) is to get all the voters fair representation across the 210 constituencies. Without section 161(6) this would be a simple mathematical exercise of dividing the registered voters by 210 constituencies.
“Section 161(6) provides guidance in the operationalisation of the equality of voters into the constituencies, and more importantly gives a 20% difference between the highest and the lowest.
“This means that the difference between the constituency with the highest number of votes and the constituency with the lowest number of votes must not be more than 20%.”
Mangoma adds: “Note 4.1 in the draft delimitation report on page (xi), Zec worked with a guidance of 33 169 as the highest and 22 122 as the lowest number of voters per constituency. The difference between these is 11 047.
“This difference is 50% of the lowest number and 33% of the highest number, which is clearly above the 20% dictated by the constitution. Zec has used these wrong parameters and consequently the resultant draft delimitation report falls foul of the constitution.
“The average number of votes obtained by dividing the total number of registered voters of 5 804 376 by 210 constituencies is 27 640. To work with a difference of not more than 20% between the highest and the lowest voters per constituency…
“…the lowest number of voters should be 25 150 and highest is 30 130. The difference between these numbers is 4 980 voters. The difference of 4 980 voters gives a difference of 20% as required by section 161(6) of the constitution.”
He says the process design and constituency calculations based on registered voters numbers are wrong and the whole process is thus deeply flawed.