The Zimbabwe Eectoral Commission (ZEC) has set December 31 as the deadline for the completion of the delimitation which is carried out every 10 years as per the dictates of the country’s constitution.
The electoral management body set July 17 to 26 as the dates for the inspection of the voters’ roll that will be used by the commission in the delimitation of constituencies and electoral boundaries ahead of next year’s harmonised elections.
ZEC chairperson, Justice Priscilla Chigumba last week said once all voters’ roll corrections have been taken on board, the commission would then produce the final voters’ roll that will be used for the purpose of conducting the delimitation exercise, urging all members of the public to take a keen interest in the important process.
“This is a very important exercise because it will inform the demarcation of wards and constituency boundaries for the next ten years,” said Ntando Ndlovu, Dr Thokozani Khupe’s spokesperson.
“The current voters’ roll has a lot of errors, a lot of people have been removed from the roll whilst many others have been moved to different polling stations far away from their homes. It is therefore important for citizens to physically go to various centres set up by ZEC to inspect the voters roll.”
The delimitation of boundaries based on incorrect information, Ndlovu said, can have far-reaching consequences on development and resource distribution.
“We understand that in Ward 28, Bulawayo, more than 1000 people have been removed from the roll and this might be the case in many other areas and so it is very important for citizens to go and inspect the voters’ roll,” he said.
He however said the time given to the exercise by ZEC was not enough.
“There’s also little to no publicity on the exercise by ZEC. There must be a serious effort on the part of ZEC, the media, civic society, and other political players in publicising the ongoing voter inspection exercise.
He added: “Citizens must make sure that they go out in their numbers to inspect the voters’ roll. Households must make sure that everyone registered to vote goes to his/ her polling station to inspect the voters’ roll. Those who are not registered in particular, first-time voters must utilise this period to register to vote.”
The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) said the exercise was very important.
“As a party we are encouraging not just our members but Zimbabweans, in general, to go and inspect the voters’ roll and ensure their names are there and errors if any are rectified, ” said CCC interim deputy secretary for elections, Ellen Shiriyedenga. “The process is not just for delimitation only but also for election preparedness.”
She added: “You may be aware that as a party we raised several voters’ roll queries in February. After the audit of the voters’ roll, we realised that there were so many anomalies, which we raised to ZEC. This exercise is also important as a way to test the accuracy and the credibility of the voters’ roll.”
MDC-T spokesperson, Witness Dube, however, bemoaned the limited time allocated to the exercise.
“It is a very important process which ZEC does not seem to take seriously given the period of time they have allocated it, and the level of awareness they have tried to draw to it,” said Dube.
“As a party, we urge every Zimbabwean to make the most of it for the sake of our democracy.”