AT least 2.9 million registered voters inspected their details on the voter’s roll between July 17 and 26 when the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) conducted a special inspection exercise ahead of ward and constituency delimitation later this year.
The inspection exercise, done physically at verification centres that were set up by ZEC across the country or online, was meant to allow voters to check whether they were appearing on the roll, and if their details were captured correctly.
Once all the corrections have been taken on board, ZEC will then produce the final voters’ roll that will be used for the purpose of conducting the delimitation exercise.
In an update, the commission said the voters roll inspection turnout was 50.03 percent.
“2 904 253 voters out of 5 804 497 inspected their details during the inspection period,” it said.
Those who physically inspected their details amounted to 789 976, while those who inspected via the *265# USSD service amounted to 2 114 286.
The impending delimitation exercise is meant to create new electoral boundaries ahead of the 2023 elections.
In preparation for the delimitation exercise and subsequent elections, Zec conducted a voter registration blitz in February and April this year.
The voter registration blitz was part of several pre-election activities that ZEC and other relevant stakeholders have lined up in preparation for the 2023 polls.
One such stakeholder, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, conducted a national population census in April this year whose results will also guide the creation of new electoral boundaries to be used in 2023.
The population census was held a year earlier specifically for that purpose.
In the same vein, the Civil Registry Department is conducting the national mobile registration exercise from April 1 until September 30 targeting to register at least two million people, double the number known to be on the backlog which accumulated during the Covid-19 lockdown period.
During the exercise, documents such as national identity cards, birth certificates, death certificates and cattle brands will be availed free of charge.
In June Mt Pleasant Heights residents petitioned ZEC and the City of Harare over their disenfranchisement after they were moved from Ward 17 in Mt Pleasant Constituency in Harare and placed under Ward 20 in Mazowe South Constituency under Mashonaland Central province.
Residents who coordinated the petition argued that the changes were made in 2018 but they left them disfranchised because they were left without representation under the Harare City Council and under Mazowe Rural District Council.
Although Mt Pleasant Heights was placed under Mazowe Rural District Council, residents of the suburb are getting services from the City of Harare where they pay their rates while their voting rights are in Mazowe South.
The residents said their suburb should be placed under Harare and elect their representatives from where they are paying their rates and taxes.
The petition states that the residents had seen it fit to approach the electoral management body in view of the impending delimitation of constituencies by ZEC in preparation for the 2023 harmonised presidential, parliamentary and council elections.
Delimitation is the process of dividing the country into constituencies and wards for the purposes of elections of persons to constituency seats in the National Assembly and of councillors to local authorities. The process is carried out in terms of sections 160 and 161 of the Constitution.
Once every 10 years, on a date or within a period fixed by the Commission so as to fall as soon as possible after a population census, ZEC must conduct a delimitation of the electoral boundaries into which Zimbabwe is to be divided, the electoral body says on its website.
The boundaries of constituencies must be such that, so far as possible, at the time of delimitation equal numbers of voters are registered in each constituency within Zimbabwe. The boundaries of wards must be such that, so far as possible, at the time of delimitation equal numbers of voters are registered in each ward of the local authority concerned. – New Ziana/Suburban Reporter