HARARE West Constituency has been reconfigured with a number of suburbs under the constituency moved to other wards and constituencies in the capital city following the recent provisional delimitation of wards and constituencies.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission completed the delimitation of wards and constituencies last year ahead of the 2023 presidential, parliamentary and council elections. ZEC handed the preliminary delimitation report to President Mnangagwa in December who recalled Parliament to debate the report and make its recommendations.
Harare West Constituency is made up of Ward 16 (Mabelreign, Sentosa, Meyrick Park, Sunridge, Ashdown Park, Greencroft, Haig Park, Madokero, Sanganai Park and Maranatha and Ward 41 (Marlborough, Bluff Hill, Westgate and Avonlea).
Under the new boundaries that ZEC proposed, suburbs such as Emerald Hill and Ashbrittle, which were previously under Ward 41, are now part of Ward 19 in Hatcliffe Constituency.
Other Ward 16 suburbs such as Tynwald North will now be in Ward 40 under Dzivarasekwa while Westlea will be in Ward 15 in Warren Park.
Lenana Park, Nkwisi Gardens, Matidoda and Homelink, which were under Ward 16, will be part of Ward 35 in Dzivarasekwa Constituency should the preliminary delimitation report be approved.
Neighbouring Mt Pleasant Constituency, which residents feared might be disbanded, remained in place although it was also reconfigured. Mt Pleasant Constituency is made up of Wards 7 (Avondale) and 17 (Mt Pleasant).
A number of areas in Mt Pleasant have been moved to Hatcliffe Constituency (which is currently called Harare North). These include the area around Bond Shopping Centre, Pomona and Mt Pleasant Heights which together with Hatcliffe Extension now form Hatcliffe Constituency.
Mt Pleasant Heights will now be under Ward 19 having previously been disenfranchised as the residents of the recently built suburb paid their rates in Harare although they were under Mazowe Rural District Council and had their voting rights in Mazowe South Constituency.
Borrowdale West and most of Vainona have gone to Harare East while Bond Shopping Centre and the area around Mt Pleasant District Office are now in Ward 19 under Hatcliffe Constituency.
Part of Eastlea North off Samora Machel Avenue up to Glenara Avenue are now a part of Mt Pleasant Constituency together with a good part of the Avenues.
Some parts of Ward 7 which include Avondale, most of Alexandra Park, Belgravia and Strathaven, were also taken out of Mt Pleasant Constituency.
Ward 7 was moved to the east towards Glenara Avenue into Chisipite.
When delimiting the wards and constituencies, the ZEC said it took into consideration population density and distribution, physical features and means of communication, community of interest and existing electoral boundaries.
“As far as possible communities with the same interest were contained in the same ward in line with section 161(6)(d) of the Constitution,” ZEC says in the preliminary report.
However, the electoral body said in some cases it resorted to mixing communities with different interests to meet voter population thresholds.
“To ensure that the constitutional voter population thresholds were met there were instances where the commission resorted to mixing land uses and communities with different interests. For instance, peri-urban, rural and urban communities were combined in a constituency to comply with set thresholds. During the delimitation of wards, it was observed that there were several areas whose land use had changed around most urban areas,” reads the report.
On Wednesday this week, Parliament adopted the report by the special all-party ad-hoc committee it set up to analyse the delimitation of constituencies and will now submit this to President Mnangagwa for onward transmission to ZEC. The adoption of the report followed two days of debate by both the National Assembly and Senate.
The ad-hoc committee included representatives of ZANU PF, the MDC-A and the CCC, roughly in proportion to the number of legislators who take their whip in Parliament, plus a representative of the 18 senator chiefs who do not belong to a political party. This all-party approach produced a lot of consensus and unanimity.
In its report, the special committee said ZEC failed to follow procedures that include delimiting some ward boundaries below the maximum and minimum thresholds as stipulated by the Constitution and also noted that it did not provide sufficient information to justify the changes in ward and constituency boundaries it made.
Parliamentarians that contributed to the debate echoed similar sentiments raised by the committee citing situations that occurred in their own constituencies or provinces. After the debate, legislators voted to adopt the ad-hoc committee’s report including the issues raised by legislators.
According to the Constitution the President will study Parliament’s recommendations and then inform ZEC which of those concerns have merit.
The Constitutional procedures then is that ZEC will effect any corrections to the report and thereafter present the final delimitation report to the President for gazetting.