ELECTORAL watchdog, Election Resource Centre (ERC) has called for transparency and inclusivity in the ongoing constituency delimitation exercise to avoid boundary manipulation for next year’s polls.
The delimitation exercise will divide the country’s constituencies and wards ahead of elections.In a policy document on delimitation, ERC urged that there be extensive consultations before the exercise.
ERC’s statement follows a similar statement by legal think-tank, Veritas, which said the timeline between the 2022 census and the delimitation exercise was too short.
“During delimitation there is need for an inclusive and extensive consultation of all stakeholders from all arms of government, private sector, citizens, civil society and all interested parties,” the ERC statement read.“ERC recommends that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) must ensure that women, the youth and the church take up an active role in electoral activities such as delimitation and other electoral processes.
“ERC recommends that the media, given its role as an informer and educator, play a more active role in providing information on issues relating to the delimitation exercise including notifying the public of the timelines and public consultations.
“The delimitation process should be based on clear logical procedures, transparent processes that involve wide stakeholder consultations through public hearings and a system that enables accountability and traceability of the delimited boundaries.”
It said delimitation should not be manipulated to favour particular groups, while delimitation techniques should not be used to discount the votes of particular groups or geographical areas.“Tampering with boundaries can (by design or unintentionally) distort representation and political control in an area (often referred to as gerrymandering.”
ERC warned that delimitation is a very sensitive process ahead of elections in the country.
“Delimitation by nature has socio-economic and political implications. Politically, delimitation defines geographical areas for electors and those elected and, therefore, allocates political power.
“Economically, boundaries define the subsequent access and distribution of economic benefits following an election. Therefore, delimitation has an effect on the incentives of those affected, which explains why delimitation remains a sensitive process ahead of any election,” ERC added.
Efforts to get a comment from Zec spokesperson commissioner Jasper Mangwana were fruitless yesterday. He also did not respond to questions sent to him by NewsDay.