Election watchdog say Zimbabwe’s elections under threat

By William Milasi 

The Election Resource Centre (ERC) has called on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to address concerns from various stakeholders on the recently released preliminary delimitation report if Zimbabwe is to have decent polls this year.

In a statement ERC noted that the submission of the preliminary report to President Emmerson Mnangagwa is a significant step towards a fair representation of the Zimbabwean voters.

However, the ERC explained Zimbabwe’s elections risked being threatened by a contested delimitation report.

“While the report has generally resulted in a more equitable distribution of voters across the 210 constituencies in Zimbabwe, the ERC notes concerns raised by stakeholders on the report. Main concerns being the calculation of the allowable ‘variance’ for the number of registered voters per constituency and ward. The alleged erroneous methodology used to calculate the variance potentially discredits the delimitation process,” the ERC said.

The election centre stated that underlying principle of the delimitation process is to ensure the equality of the vote.

“Hence, the ERC urges the Commission to address the concerns raised by stakeholders. The failure to adequately address the issues raised may result in the final delimitation report being contested and thus affecting its use for the 2023 Harmonised Elections. A return to the pre-existing 2007/2008 boundaries goes against the principles of the equality of the vote as the boundaries of the current constituencies and wards are grossly unequal. Inclusivity and transparency in addressing the concerns raised will ensure buy-in of all relevant stakeholders.

“The Electoral Commission is expected to ensure maximum transparency of the procedures and their outcome. This is vital to guarantee the credibility of the electoral process, secure the confidence of the voters and respect the aspirations of the Constitution,” ERC said.

Given the short time left to the polls ERC has called on stakeholders to address concerns raised in earnest.

“Given the short time remaining for the delimitation report to be adopted for the 2023 Harmonised Election. ERC calls on all significant stakeholders, in particular the Electoral Commission, Parliament, and Political Parties, to step up, address the issues brought up, and carry out their mandates,” ERC said.

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