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SENATE HANSARD 17 JANUARY 2023 VOL 32 NO 11
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 17th January, 2023
The Senate met at Half-Past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
REPORT OF THE AD HOC COMMITTEE ON THE ANALYSIS OF ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION 2022 PRELIMINARY REPORT ON THE DELIMITATION EXERCISE.
First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Analysis of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission 2022 Preliminary Report on the Delimitation Exercise.
Question again proposed.
*HON. SEN. MBOHWA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to debate the report that was brought forward by the Ad Hoc Committee which was set after the report from ZEC, following the delimitation exercise. I want to thank you because I saw that they did a wonderful job. Mr. President, from the findings of the Ad Hoc Committee I would want to add a few things to this report which I find a bit uncomfortable about the work done by ZEC.
Firstly, we are aware that it is the duty of ZEC as per our Constitution to do delimitation in accordance with the voter registration. For me, that was not a problem. What becomes a problem from our communities is that after COVID-19 which almost took 2 years, there was a complete lockdown. You even know Mr. President that schools were closed. This did not leave a chance for our children to have an opportunity to register to vote by acquiring birth certificates and national identity cards. Soon after COVID restrictions were lifted, ZEC quickly started voter registration and meeting young people who did not have official documents to register to vote. My submissions are that if it was possible, the Registrar General’s Office should have moved ahead of ZEC so that it was going to capture all who did not have birth certificates. I support this because from May 2022 when there was a deadline for delimitation, I am assured we now have almost 400 000 new registered voters. This indicates that the registration that was done for delimitation excludes a number of people who were still willing to register as voters.
Secondly, if we are to focus on delimitation, you can correct me Mr. President, I believe that we have what we call primary concerns which should be factors considered for delimitation. For example, we consider Chiefs as the custodians of our land and as such, they should be consulted so that we hear what their opinions are because they have the power to preside over their communities. They have development that they champion in those communities. I am not saying we want to discriminate tribes but if you take the Ndau and put it to Karangas, it will be like we are suppressing the Ndau’s because we have brought them together with another tribe. This factor was not considered.
Let me go to Mberengwa District. There is Chief Mposi and Chief Mudavanhu. Chief Mudavanhu is proud of his community through his ward assemblies. Then you want Chief Mudavanhu during ward assembly consultations to go and ask people from Chief Mposi to do as he does in his area. How can his people go to another chiefdom to talk about development in his ward? This did not go well with our chiefs and ZEC did not consider all this. I wish chiefs could have sat down and discussed the issue to come up with a solution. I want to give you another example from Chireya, Nyaningwe and Madzivazvido in Gokwe area. If the headman had been consulted, he would have told them which village to move depending on the closeness of villages to the polling stations. It would seem these people were working from an office desk and just removed villages willy-nilly without giving consideration to distances to be travelled or the other primary factors. They would just look for the village with small numbers such as 345 and move it. Those are some of my observations.
Now, looking at Runde, there is Ward 13 and Ward 18. Ward 8 was short with two people to meet the minimum requirement. If they were looking at primary concerns they could have just ignored the two people. However, what they did was move the whole polling station and these people from Ward 8 would pass through their old ward to get to the new ward that they were given. It is clear they did not look into this intently. They would remove the tail-end of one ward and it would pass through its old ward to go to the new ward. That is a very difficult scenario. Also looking at the geographical features, it happened in many areas such as Chirisa, Gokwe South, etcetera. You have to pass through the game reserve to get to the new ward, yet right by the corner there is a ward which was supposed to be moved. So it is sequential but there was no consultation and it did not happen as such. In other areas where things were done properly, the ZEC team made consultations but where they did not consult is where we are having these contentious issues. We are well aware that the only thing ZEC cannot change are provincial boundaries but they are able to change everything else. Even looking at Mberengwa, in the olden days when it was still called Belingwe, it used to encompass some people who are now in Zvishavane. They were again put back by delimitation. So, all I can say is, we were supposed to move wards according to their closeness. They were supposed to take 10 000 people and get into Shurugwi until they got the required number. They would have the numbers because of the number of people in Zvishavane. So, they would go back to the way they used to live because they used to live together and they know each other. They have the same town – Zvishavane, they meet in the same mines and they are people who already have relations and would not have seen it as amiss to come back together unlike dissolving the constituency and move it somewhere else because Midlands still has the same number of constituencies. It was just a matter of pushing each other while the boundaries changed and this would not have caused any problems.
Mr. President, in conclusion, I am not too sure how we can align the census with delimitation. We have places that are so backward such as the area visited by the First Lady Mrs. Mnangagwa. The people in that area did not know something called a birth certificate or national identity card. They are so backward but they are in Zimbabwe and they also need development. It means if we count those people, maybe the constituency there was short of the minimum required yet it has 70 000 people, so we dissolve it because it has 16 000 registered voters without taking into consideration the population in that constituency. They move it to the one that has the required threshold. You will make it difficult for that MP and there will be no development because that MP will have over 100 000 people while the other has 25 000 people. We then come to Parliament and get $2 for development. I do not think we will have weighed properly what we are doing if we divorce the whole population from the delimitation of registered voters. I do not know, but I was thinking that there is need to relook into the delimitation because it is only done after 10 years. Ten years of suffering and you cannot get to the ward centre because of a mountain. No-one goes there because travelling 34km in the rural areas on those roads, a person would need $20 to move to and fro the ward centre. The seed that one is going to collect is not supposed to be paid for. So, it would be better to use that money to buy a 10kg bag of mealie-meal. That is how bad this delimitation exercise was. My plea is for this process to be looked into again because the person who is going to suffer is the child of Zimbabwe. Let us not look at parties but let us look at what will benefit and disadvantage the Zimbabwean citizen. What is the point of accepting something that will hurt our people for all those years because we just want to say the process was done well? Those are my brief words that I would want to add to the Ad Hoc Report that we received. I thank you.
HON. SEN. MWONZORA: Mr. President, this country has a Constitution which was made after very wide consultations by the people of Zimbabwe. One of the most important things about this Constitution is that it sets out Independent Commissions which are contained in Chapter 12. These include the Zimbabwe Election Commission. Therefore, as a Parliament and a people, we must always make sure that we safeguard the independence of ZEC. So, it is critically important that it remains independent.
Secondly, this Constitution talks about the duty of Parliament, which is to make sure that the Constitution is observed. So, this Parliament must protect the independence of ZEC. It must protect the rights of the people of Zimbabwe as set out in the Constitution.
Now, on this delimitation, there are clauses in the Constitution that deal with that delimitation. The first clause which is Section 161 (1), says that delimitation must follow a census. Why is that important? Because the population of the country is important.
Now, what the ZEC did in this case is that after the census ended, I think in July, they started delimitation. They equated census to counting. Census has a number of stages. There is the counting of people which happened from May to July and then there is the production of results. The census ends with the declaration of final results. Just like voting; when we say election, we are not talking about polling where people mark their papers. We are looking at polling, tallying the results and declaring the results. In this case ZEC did not consider the final results of the census because the final results of the census of Zimbabwe do not exist.
Mr. President, after the population census ended in August, the Central Statistical Office or whoever in charge, announced provisional results. When we were in the Ad Hoc Committee, the term provisional and preliminary was interpreted by none other than the Chairperson of ZEC herself. She said preliminary means ‘temporary’ subject to change and she was totally correct. It is not anybody’s fault that the Census delayed. It is because this country was under lockdown and that is why the first notice of census is in 2019, another one in 2020 and then there is another notice in 2022. This was responding to an exogenous fact which was COVID.
So the population census, not registered voters is important. This is because delimitation is not only for purposes of voting. Delimitation has other functions, chief among them which is the distribution of national resources. We do not distribute national resources only to registered voters. We distribute national resources to the Zimbabwean population irrespective of age, political or religious persuasion. When we distribute resources under devolution, we send these resources to wards and in those wards they are not given to registered voters only. They target everyone. So, ZEC totally disregarded the national population and therefore, this delimitation is faulty.
In law Mr. President, we say every clause you see in a legal instrument serves a purpose. There is never a clause drafted for the funny of it. When the drafts people who included me said it must follow population census, we wanted to protect all the people of Zimbabwe and cover all the people of Zimbabwe, including non-voters but ZEC totally disregarded that. As we speak, we do not have final results of the census and therefore to carry delimitation on this is to lie to ourselves. So, that was totally wrong.
Then the second issue is that there is a clause called Clause 161 (3) which says when you are delimiting, you must make sure that there is a size you can achieve. There is equality of the number of voters in all the constituencies in Zimbabwe. In other words, the delimitation must look at what is called a national average. We divide our country into the number of constituencies that are there. If the registered voters are one million, divided by 210, then we have an average. That is not what the ZEC considered. ZEC considered provincial averages. There was an average for Manicaland which was different from the average of Masvingo, which was different from the average of Matebeleland South and North, Bulawayo, Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West yet in our Constitution; I think in Section 2, Zimbabwe is a unitary State.
What ZEC did here is effective cessation without knowing it. That is why you have a different standard for different communities. Then you end up with an average where you have a constituency with 20 000 people. In another part of the country, another constituency has 33 000 people, about 11 000 difference; you allocate national resources equally to them. In a guise of equality, you are actually promoting inequality because if my constituency has a 100 000 population and in her constituency we have 2 000, when CDF comes, CDF per capita in my constituency is $1 and in her constituency is about $5 000 or even more. So, it was very wrong for ZEC to use different averages in one country.
This Constitution envisages a situation where people migrate in the course of time. They migrate from one province to the other or from urban to rural areas. Because of that, you do delimitation which must follow the population and that was not done by ZEC. We do not suggest that they were malicious because this is their first time to do delimitation. I do not think there was malice. We did not see evidence of malice but they were unable. We see evidence of inability to interpret simple things.
There is a clause in the Constitution that says when you are delimiting the constituencies; you look at a number of factors and these factors include community of interest, geographical spacing of the voters, existing boundaries and the population. When we asked ZEC, they said the primary consideration is the registered voter, not the population. Why does the law provide for the population if it is irrelevant? Inasmuch as they did not consider this, they were very wrong.
We have heard examples given by Senator Mbowa in the part of the country she talked about. I want to give you an example of Nyanga where I come from. I come from a constituency called Nyanga North. At this point in time, Nyanga North has 13 wards including Ward 8 and in terms of the provincial average, Nyanga North as it stands passes the bar. Then there is Nyanga South adjacent to it. It is made up of 18 wards which then are 9 to 31, a continuation from Nyanga North. Looking at the provincial averages, they both are okay as they are. So, as the Americans say ‘if it ain’t broken do not fix it’. Now, what did ZEC do? ZEC removed Ward 8 from Nyanga North and put it into Nyanga South and in place of it, it took Ward 27 and put it in Nyanga North.
Just to give you an insight for those who do not know Nyanga. Nyanga North starts from a place called Regina near Nyamaropa going north. Nyanga South starts from there up to a place called Brondesbury. For you to move from Nyanga North to Brondesbury you cross the entire Nyanga South. Ward 27 is in Brondesbury, so you travel from the rest of Nyanga North via Nyanga South to the end of Nyanga South and that ward is allocated to Nyanga North. Absolutely, no logic and some parts of the world are at war because of such kinds of demarcations.
For example, Palestine and those who have seen the map of Palestine, it has two pieces of land. The first one is called the West Bank and the second one the Gaza Strip. When you come from the West Bank you pass through Israel and go to Gaza. That is why they are fighting. You take Nyanga North, remove a ward arbitrarily for absolutely no reason or maybe there are reasons and you move it to another area. If you are the Member of Parliament for Nyanga North, you will have a ward centre. So, Nyanga North centre to Ward 27 is 150 km. What was the purpose or the need to do that?
Mr. President, there are a number of examples that we did see but we were worried that the ZEC report that we were given was not signed. The Ad Hoc Committee made that observation. Why it was not signed, we are not so sure. We then said we do not want to be involved in conspiracy theories. Let us look at other delimitation reports to see whether they were signed or not. We looked at the last delimitation report which was in 2008 and it was signed by all the Commissioners. There may be a number of explanations for that.
It is a fact that this country has had disputed elections, probably since independence. We need to break that jinx. We must have a situation where after elections and the declaration of results, Zimbabweans go to peace and shift to development. They will then go to elections again after five years. It is critically important for this country that there must be no disputed elections and it is critically important because Zimbabweans need to be integrated into the international community of nations. Right now, we are asking Zimbabwe to rejoin the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth are talking about the conditions and so forth. One of them is the absence of disputed elections.
Now, under this report, if we are to use this report, already the election is disputed because of what it looks like. There are two scenarios that are created by this report. The first scenario is what should we do? The first scenario is that we just go to election with this report with its injustices as we have already seen subject to dispute and the dispute is credible or we go to the Constitution where it says we use the existing boundaries. When the Constitution was written, it presupposes a regular delimitation and the regular delimitation is delimitation after every ten years and that is why there was no issue about delimitation in 2018. It is because the last delimitation took place in 2008 and to 2018 we are within 10 years, absolutely no issue. Unfortunately, for factors that are beyond ZEC’s control, the current boundaries are 15 years old. So, to go to election under the current boundaries is to patently go to elections under false boundaries open to dispute again. We will go to the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court again, and so forth. So, there is a problem there.
This report creates a conundrum for the people of Zimbabwe. If I may say so Mr. President, we want independence of ZEC. We do not want to take delimitation out of them. We do not want to take election management from them. We want them to do the correct thing. The only way out of this conundrum is for ZEC to redo this thing and to re-delimit our country using the correct data. The Central Statistical Office has to make the data available. It is not their fault that there was COVID and they tried to rush in order to meet the time. Again, that is not their fault but they created something that will plunge this country into further turmoil. I thank you Mr. President for the time that you have given me.
+HON. SEN. CHIEF MTSHANE-KHUMALO: Thank you Mr. President for allowing me to debate on the report from ZEC on local authority boundaries and constituencies. Let us not forget that the current structure of communal land is as follows: village head, chief and councillor. This report touches all people on the ground and we would have passed it but ZEC did not consult people on the ground, including chiefs. It looks like they forgot that the structure in the communal lands starts with the village head, chief, councillor and so on. All this was not observed and ZEC operated in their accord.
Mr. President, allow me to speak about my constituency. There are wards and 23 councillors. They took Ward 8 which is 70 km away and put in the central or township where people will vote. They also took two villages namely Village 5 and 6 in Ward 11; Villages 4, 5 and 6 are called communal lands and there are plenty of people constituting this communal land. We have seen the report but we are saying the report is not tallying with the situation on the ground. The people in the township are different from the ones who stay in the communal land – their lifestyle is different. The people in the townships do not know that there is a chief or headman. They only know the chief executive officer at council and how to pay rates. People from the communal land are related and they know their area. ZEC officials should have sat down with the chiefs and headmen so that they would come up with one thing. Ward 11 has 7 villages and there is also a resettlement area. We cannot take Village 2 and 5 and put them in that place. We are not in agreement with that because we were not consulted. Constituencies and local authority wards did not change. What changed is the number of voters.
In the campaigns, I do not know how long it will take but people should be allowed to register to vote for 2023. This report did not look at the people who registered at the time when we campaigned for the registration. It simply looked at the statistics from the censors which are very low. When will the people who are registered going to be consulted? The numbers on the report do not reflect the people who registered. We need to relook at this because this will cause disputes amongst people because they live different lives - township and communal. With these few words Mr. President, I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to debate. I support the contributions made by the majority that as we are debating we are removing what is bad from the report in anticipation that this will be rectified. The problem of wards affects our chiefs because each chief will be having his boundary of authority and it is disappointing that you take some of the boundaries of one chief giving it to another. This brings a lot of disputes but I am confident that ZEC will rectify this problem. As many have said that this is a first activity of its kind after the new Constitution, we anticipate a number of mistakes as something being done first time.
As Senators, I was thinking that delimitation started being talked about last year and I think we did not take it seriously as legislators so that we could have sat down with ZEC and came up with a framework which could align how ZEC was going to do its delimitation. I am supporting the opinion that we afford ZEC the opportunity to rectify its report. Thank you Mr. President.
+HON. SEN. A. DUBE: Thank you Mr. President for affording me the opportunity to debate on the report that has been brought up by Hon. Sen. Muzenda and seconded by Hon. Sen. Mwonzora. I think this is a report which everyone is supposed to put much emphasis on. I recognise that all the senators that contributed have made similar contributions. This shows that in all the areas, people have the same echoes on this issue. I also want to thank ZEC that has made a tremendous job. Looking at this report, we recognise that it was done within a short period of time as they were trying to produce the report within the stipulated time. They managed to do it though they did not do a perfect job where most of the people have their own opinions. It is caused by the fact that they were given a short period. They did not also follow constitutional recommendations that are there in preparing this report.
We are supposed to follow our Constitution religiously when we are conducting our business. We also had an enemy which is COVID-19. For the past two years, people were affected by COVID. If it was not the issue that people were affected by COVID-19, ZEC would have had the opportunity to go around correcting the errors that we are noting in this report. In 2013 after the Constitution was revised, there are some issues that they did not take up to hand when ZEC was preparing their delimitation report. Most of the areas are saying the same issues. We are not saying ZEC did not do a professional job but since it was their first time of doing such a job, there are some issues that they made an oversight, that they did not take into cognisance. They were also supposed to consult legislators so that they could assist them in following the Constitution religiously. Also in conducting the census, looking at the rural areas, they told themselves that in conducting the delimitation, they were supposed to use the census report but for the delimitation, they were supposed to use the number of voters that are registered but they did not follow up and consult as it is stated in the Electoral Act that they are supposed to follow the procedures.
Firstly, they are supposed to consult the grassroots people and the leadership, the traditional leaders and everyone who is part of the grassroots leadership. They are supposed to be consulted so that people can move within the same page and understand each other. I understand that this was not done. This has now led to the issue that we are seeing that there are discrepancies and some processes that were not followed duly in conducting these issues. Looking at Section 161 of the Constitution, when conducting the Delimitation Report, ZEC has an obligation of looking for all the important people that are supposed to be consulted when conducting such a report. We have got a lot of questions that are being asked by people in our constituencies. They are asking that since you are our leaders, our constituencies are being divided, what is happening? What is taking place? We need to understand what is happening within our constituencies.
In response, we tell them that we do not know what is happening because we were not consulted. If they had even announced to us that there were supposed to be consultations on conducting the delimitation report, we could have mobilised the traditional leaders, the chiefs so that they could convey the message to the people and people would have been mobilised to go and vote so that when this delimitation exercise is conducted, people would know. We want them to understand that this delimitation is not only for voting but also for development. Even though we are going to devolution; it also includes the issues of delimitation.
Looking at the area that I come from, Tsholotsho Urban, which is in Tsholotsho South Constituency, the delimitation exercise has now shifted it under Tsholotsho North. The distance is now more than 80km for them to go to the nearest councillor. This means they now have to travel long distances so that they can also get the services that they are supposed to get within their wards. We understand that this delimitation is now taking us from our closer areas of services taking us to areas that are far away.
Looking at Tsholotsho South also, Ward 8 in Tsholotsho from Umguza who are agrarian farmers, which includes cabbage and cotton, they now have a councillor who is far away from them, who is a hundred plus kilometres away. Can they manage to air their issues concerning development from an area which is more than 100km away? This now leads to a number of unanswered questions pertaining to development. If consultations were done with the traditional leaders, this could have been avoided whilst people were seated together and conversing. It is common cause that delimitation was done before but of importance is that when this particular delimitation was conducted, people did not put into cognisance the importance of consultation.
Looking at our traditional leaders like the chiefs, they are the ones who do not understand what is going on but they are the custodians of our culture and traditions. They do not understand that subjects who were once under Chief Deve are now under Chief Gampu. How will they understand it and be able to relate with the new chief? This has caused a lot of conflict amongst the people. This was not taken into cognisance. ZEC was supposed to follow Section 161 of the Constitution. Everything that is stated in Section 161 should be followed. The time was really short. If they could go back on the ground and rectify this issue, it would be of great assistance. People who were registered to vote after the census were not included and there are quite a number of people that were registered after the census. Looking at it now, these people do not appear on the roll.
ZEC should go to the traditional leaders and educate them on how this process was conducted and how it is going to help them. We can talk of modern maps which are in SADC but we need to understand that ZEC needs to go and educate our people in the rural areas that this is the new norm that is being used in other countries in SADC region. ZEC needs to go back to the drawing board and sit with the chiefs and educate them that we are taking people from this chief and we are transferring them to this other chieftainship so that they could balance the figure of the people that are within the chiefs, then it would be of great importance.
As it is right now, people are now in conflict because they do not understand this exercise. If it was possible, they could convene meetings with the chiefs and the chiefs would be told that we are cutting this portion so that we can increase the number of voters within this other constituency. That way, it would make sense because people do not want to see the boundaries being altered before they have been consulted. The chiefs are not pleased to see their people being shifted to another area without consultation because they are wondering how development would take place in different areas. People do not understand who is going to champion development since they have been transferred to another chief. Everyone who is in that area is supposed to benefit but the people need to be told how this is going to work.
We need people to register to vote and also we need them to understand this process of delimitation. People need to understand the figures that are mentioned from the national level whether they are proportional with what is going to be distributed within the provinces and rural areas. If the ward coordinator from this area is shifted to another area, they need to understand who is now going to be responsible to cover them in as far as development is concerned. ZEC really did their job but they failed to understand the obligation of the Constitution from the first step to the second step. If they had followed the Constitution religiously, they would have never missed a step because the Constitution clearly stipulates what they are supposed to do.
I would not want to dwell on what others have said pertaining to the issues that the report did not go well in most areas because a lot of people have been separated especially within the rural areas. It is now for the traditional leaders and kraal heads because they know their people on issues that relate to the economy and development. If a person is transferred from one chief to another, it may seem as if we are shifting people from their places of origin.
I thank ZEC for preparing the report but I would urge them to go back to the drawing board and address these issues. I also thank them that they did this report within a short period of time but this delimitation must have been given a longer period in order for them to attend to these issues. Maybe it is not their fault because they were affected by COVID-19. After they realised that time was not on their side, they tried to rush through the process but they failed to do a meticulous job. May I say that the one who is running is the one who falls but the one who is standing does not fall. These people were rushing through so that they could present their report to Parliament but they missed a lot of points that are important that they were supposed to cover.
I wish ZEC to go back and prepare a diligent report. I am not saying that they erred but they made an oversight on some important issues especially when we are talking of grassroots, we need them to know the importance of the kraal heads, chiefs and village heads. These are the people that could help them in dividing the local authorities. They can be assisted by chiefs who can use their wisdom on how to separate the areas.
I am proposing that they could be given another opportunity so that they could go and prepare this report effectively. If they do not consult, it would not be feasible for them to produce an effective report. They need to consult all the stakeholders including everyone who is affected by this issue. Even those who registered to vote are supposed to be present so that they could put their heads together and understand each other on what could be done in order to conduct this delimitation effectively. If they had known that this was the criteria used to conduct this delimitation process, they could have gone and registered to vote and also made their input.
The way we relate with our traditional leaders has been affected by the way this delimitation report was conducted. If they are given the opportunity, they are supposed to go and prepare it diligently. I thank them but I am asking that they go and prepare it nicely so that we can have peace within this nation. The traditional leaders are the ones that can assist us so that we can have peace. If people are the ones who are going to say we do not want to go to this chief and that chief, there will be havoc. We want our chiefs to be consulted so that they can sit down with the people and explain to them what has happened in a peaceful manner because every process which is done will affect everyone. We want to always have peace. Our country is a peaceful nation but if the MPs are the ones that are complaining about lack of consultation, then it becomes a challenge because people in the rural areas are the ones who are saying they were never consulted and MPs are saying they were not part of this process. It shows that there is a lot that has not been analysed and put in place. What they did is wonderful for this report as well as the census report. However, what is wrong is that people thought they were going to use the census report in preparing the delimitation report but it did not go that way. Our plea is for them to follow our recommendations for it to be effective. I thank you.
HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you Mr. President for affording me the opportunity to add my voice to this very pertinent discussion on the output of ZEC. Before I go on, I think we need to understand that ZEC is a creature of the statute. What it means is, it has to act according to the law. Anything outside that will be wandering outside its mandate. It cannot add or subtract what is provided for by the Constitution. Just to buttress my point, I will try by all means not to repeat what has already been debated by my colleagues.
If we look at our Constitution, it is actually what guides us. The ZEC report is a technical document which is governed by rules and the supreme rule is the Constitution. Section 1 of the Constitution, my Hon Member said that Zimbabwe is a unitary State. What it means is that we have one law for everyone. So, these are some of the principles which ZEC has to adhere to. Section 2 of the Constitution goes on to buttress the point to guide us because without the Constitution, we end up acting on our own and partisan interests. It talks about the supremacy of the Constitution and it says this Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Any practice or conduct which is at variance with the Constitution is invalid to the extent of its inconsistence. Therefore, we need to interrogate ZEC’s report under that mirror. The constitution, Section 2, gives an obligation for every person, whether a company or natural person and all agencies of government, which ZEC is, to abide and the way it was quoted there, I think the writers of the Constitution knew it is not may but must abide by this Constitution. So ZEC must and not may. Therefore, wherever they strayed and went on the may side, that is invalid to the extent of that in the Constitution. Before I continue, I think this ZEC report is a very fundamental document to us as a people. It is very sad that Zimbabwe for the past few years or decades, has been labeled as a nation which cannot conduct free, fair and transparent elections. I do not think this time around we would allow the enemies of Zimbabwe to continue peddling that falsehood. So, the mandate is on us to ensure that we shame our detractors.
Conduct of elections does not occur on the day of elections. It is a process and this process starts with delimitation and this is where we have problems. Already we are arming our enemies to say 2023 elections are not free and fair and we cannot say they were free and fair if we can willfully violate our Constitution and allow ZEC to proceed with this as a template for conducting elections in Zimbabwe. I think it is everyone’s duty and one of Parliament’s role is to protect this Constitution. When we were sworn in, we said we would live and abide by this Constitution. I did not say I will live and abide by my party position but a national position and I appeal to all Hon. Members here to take this as a national objective and as a national duty which the people of Zimbabwe; where we derive our power bestowed on us, to respect them by doing the simplest, to protect the Constitution and ensure that whatever agent of government strays out of the constitutional mandate must be brought to order. ZEC, in its report, violated a number of sections of the Constitution.
It is treating one constituency differently from the other. We are like a federal State but we are a unitary State. So, why should ZEC treat people like that and try to induce or promote, as alluded to by Hon. Sen. Mwonzora, a spirit of secessionism because we have got other regions of the country we said we are discriminating. If we then allow such a thing which is patently discriminatory, then I think we are arming them and they will be correct. So, they will not be enemies of the State but they are the people who will actually be protecting this Constitution. By treating constituencies differently, ZEC has deviated from one of our founding principles of our Constitution, which is to ensure that there is coherent unity in Zimbabwe.
Mr. President, one of the principles in Section 3 provides for principles of good governance and I will pick subsection (d), electoral systems based on free and fair elections and adequate representation. When we say one constituency has got 20 000 and the other one with 50 000 - is it adequate representation? The Constitution made it very clear for ZEC to move within the framework but for some strange reasons, there was a very simple primary error in terms of what would be the margin of the variance between constituencies.
Some variances actually constitute a constituency on its own, which means you have actually disadvantaged that constituency which was supposed to be two constituencies and now lumped as one when one can go with 22 000. The other one is almost the other end. As legislatures, the custodians of the Constitution, this is now the time for us to defend this Constitution. The Constitution will live beyond us but partisan politics will disappear. Some will be formed and some will go into extinction but our Constitution which is the bible of our laws in the country will live.
Mr. President, I have said ZEC in doing all its work, we appreciate the number of work it was supposed to do but it should have adhered to the principles of the Constitution. Section 56 talks about discrimination and the definition of discrimination is also provided in section 56 which says, if any person gets treatment which is different from what is done to the other, that is discrimination. If you look at the ZEC report, you will find out that there were so many unfair treatments by virtue of my location and where I come from and that cannot be allowed in a democratic country which believes in constitutionalism, which is one of our founding values.
The role of Parliament, I have said is to observe the Constitution and we are the monitors to see whether any agencies of the Government are behaving constitutionally. That is our purview. We supervise the Executive and all these Independent Commissions. Yes, they are independent and we should not interfere in whatever they do, provided that they are acting constitutionally. Here, we have got our ZEC which by error or omission, failed to abide by the constitutional principles which we so much value as a nation.
ZEC falls under Chapter 12 institutions, which is actually the objective of Independent Commissions which is under Section 233 (c), which is to promote constitutionalism. That is to stick, promote and adhere, and act within the four corners of the Constitution. Anything outside that is not Zimbabwean because Zimbabwe is a creature of the Constitution and when we violate it, I do not know what other country we will be talking about. It is another country and I do not think we as legislators are here, using the corporate word, to liquidate Zimbabwe as a company. We are here to protect our motherland by doing things which are very proper and consistent with the Constitution.
Before I sit down, one of my elementary teachings at probably primary level, they used to say garbage in-garbage out. When you input wrong data, do not expect good results. ZEC is probably trying “kuti munyika yeZimbabwe muite minana”. We can never have a peaceful, fair and transparent election when you are acting unconstitutionally. So, our output as we speak, assuming but I am quite confident the Hon. Members will do justice and advise the Hon. President accordingly and the President will act in the best interest of our country because he is the number one person who should guard jealously the Constitution. If we were to go into election with this thing, already election is rigged because you are acting anti-constitutionally. Already people are starting to complain and things like that.
If you look, there are certain areas which do not even appear on the ZEC framework. Is ZEC there to disenfranchise citizens? That is a serious issue which we have to consider. Every citizen has got a constitutional right to participate and vote in an election and that cannot be withdrawn by a body which is a creature of statutes. Mr. President, I think I can go on and on but I want to stand here and appeal to fellow Zimbabweans and fellow Hon. Members to say veduwe taneta nedisputed election in Zimbabwe. Vamwe tatochembera tichitadza kuendesa nyika mberi and if this ZEC report is going to go like it is, it is actually a recipe for disaster. We will have contested elections and our lives being disturbed for unnecessary reasons and we will have failed to get the last chance to restore or reboot Zimbabwe as a prosperous nation. I thank you Mr. President.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I urge Hon. Senators to avoid tedious repetition. If you want to debate, please debate something new. I think the main points have been made.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to just add a few things. First and foremost, I want to thank Hon. Sen. Muzenda for moving this motion in this august House. I also want to thank ZEC for producing this report which is tabled here today. Mr. President, you will forgive me. I do not want to repeat what others have said but you will find that similarities will always be found. Meanwhile, we appreciate what ZEC has done in a short space of time. Some things did not happen in the correct way. Let me just take you back a little bit on traditional boundaries and I will give an example of Matabeleland South, its wards and districts. It has got six wards. The traditional leadership, Beitbridge in particular - we have got only two constituencies which are Beitbridge West and East. Beitbridge West is the one which was affected by population census because it had only 14000 people. This Constituency could not fulfill the requirements. To our surprise, three wards were now transferred to Gwanda which is the other District. Our traditional leader, Chief Sitaudze was also given an area in Gwanda. Now we do not know whether Beitbridge now remains with only one chief. There was a constituency created in Gwanda which is now called Gwanda-Sitaudze. This is where the mistake or question is; people at grassroots level do not understand how it was done. Everyone does not understand how this was done because Beitbridge West was affected – the population could not make a Constituency but it is still there and three wards were removed from Beitbridge West to Gwanda leaving Beitbridge West with less population and also another Ward was taken to Beitbridge East whereas this had enough people to create its own Constituency. We are left in a dilemma where we do not even understand how things are happening.
In the same area, there are wards from urban areas which were transferred to rural areas as well – others to the west and east. Some of the wards which were being transferred to other constituencies by pass here in town. How? You cannot understand. This leaves a lot of people confused. As a result we are no longer in good books with our people because they are saying this transpired whilst we as legislators were there and we said very little about it.
As we speak of the population in Matabeleland South, most of them are surrounded by neighbouring countries like South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique. Most of our youths have crossed these boundaries and are in these countries seeking employment hence making the numbers on the census report very low. Instead of getting people from other areas, most of our people are being transferred to other areas. It leaves us wondering.
Those are the few comments that I wanted to add to what other Hon. Senators have alluded to. I would not want to repeat the same things that have already been said. Beitbridge was affected and I would like it to be reported because we do not have an answer to people’s questions. I thank you.
HON. SEN. CHIEF SIANSALI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity so that I can share one or two words. Mr. President, you will bear with me realising that this motion is repetitive on its nature. The indicators are just the same. Whosoever has the anxiety to stand will repeat on what the previous speaker spoke about. However, I will try by all means not to repeat what has been said – by any nature, it will be by way of emphasis.
I would like to thank ZEC for the voluminous book that it produced. Realising from the magnitude of pages and size of the book, it shows that the work was so intense and stressful. It needed more time and dedication. We hear a lot of noise from social media and the communities even from the institution I come from – that is traditional leaders. That is solely because of lack of consultation. If consultations where done extensively. Most of the issues that are being raised by members here would have been minimised or avoided. But because ZEC chose to go solo, or consulted a few people amongst a pool of many, here is what we are facing now.
I only came to know about this whole exercise when it was already done and finished. I come to wonder that if a whole Senator Chief does not know of any exercise happening in a District, let alone in my own area or chiefdom – then who could have known in my area. I think no one else. That is very dangerous.
Other constitutional provisions that give a legal mandate to the whole process of delimitation – there is Section 161 (6) stretching from a to f; if ZEC had at least followed the prescriptions of that section, again they could have minimised all the clamoring and noise that is being found within the communities. The spirit in which that section was put and tabulated point by point was to make sure that when delimitation is done, it is done thoroughly. It is done leaving no many issues and noise coming from people. Inasmuch as they cannot go 100% but at least they should have gone above my rating of around 75%.
I stand guided by mathematicians and statisticians, the calculations that were done by ZEC and getting their average which then determined their mean and their highest does not give me a range of 20%. The deviation when you calculate through my primary mathematics gives me close to 40% which if we were to take that, a Constituency with 22000 people against a Constituency with 33 000 – the range is not 20%. It does not encourage equality but otherwise. I think the spirit in which ZEC did the whole exercise was only centered on elections. This could be very ill informed because delimitation does not only inform elections but among others, it is the benchmark and guide for all developmental projects that thereafter follow. Delimitation is not done like elections per five year term – it is done after ten years; which then means if we are to do it wrong now, we will live with the wrong for the next nine to 10 years. Are we prepared for that? ZEC should have consulted, I repeat. At least this could have been minimised so that be it any wrong, it could not have been a wrong that impacts detrimentally on the people.
Mr. President, it defies my logic to say in an administrative district which has got registered voters according to them, of 70 000 plus voters getting about 25 wards against another administrative district that has got about 33 000 and getting 23 wards, which is quite less than the other district. From my knowledge, allocation of resources for purposes of devolution is done according to the number of wards in each administrative district, which in this case some districts have already been marginalised. They have got the highest number of people even though I do not agree that we should have used voters solely because for purposes of development and allocation of resources, a census report would better inform on how many people we have in each district. Again, using the voters, marginalisation still features. Those guides in the Constitution were not just put on paper Mr. President. They were put to uphold the tenets of good governance among others to promote transparency and fairness.
Mr. President, even here in Parliament, constituency development funds are allocated to sitting Members of Parliament for their constituencies and they are given as a flat figure. If one MP that has got a constituency with 22 000 registered voters is given $2 million and another with a constituency with 33 000 voters is given $2 million, where is the fairness? How is he going to account the discrepancy of 11 000 voters? Therefore, one is made to feed a few people with $2 million and the other one to feed many people with the same $2 million. ZEC did not take all that into account.
Mr. President, I may go on and on but as you said, tedious repetition is not promoted in this House. All this could have been avoided Mr. President or minimised if ZEC had sufficiently consulted. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. MABIKA: Thank you Mr. President. I want to thank you for the opportunity that you have afforded me to debate the Ad Hoc Committee Report that was presented in this Parliament. Without much ado, I want to say that during the process when they were doing this exercise – I have got an example of Chipinge. It is a district with five constituencies and amongst those five constituencies they have a threshold that they reach. They cannot be subdivided neither can they be increased. They have got the exact number that is required. Looking at those that are said to have a number that is not expected, those that we say are okay, for example Chipinge Central; if one ward is removed from Chipinge Central and added to another constituency with a shortage of one ward, if the same exercise is done to another constituency, then our question is - why are we subtracting a ward from a constituency, for example Chipinge Central if all the wards were equal?
When we look at Musikavanhu and Chipinge West, Musikavanhu has very few people in that constituency for them to reach the expected number. The next ward is Chipinge South. It also falls under Chief Musikavanhu. Ward 24 falls under Chief Musikavanhu. Is it not prudent for us? When we look at the community of interest, the Chief will feel very much disadvantaged because of such an exercise. That exercise will not sit well with the Chief in which the ward that would be removed falls within his jurisdiction. If there is a problem on the issue of wards and constituencies and the issue of numbers where there are high numbers in a ward or constituency, this is where we are saying we should retain the name.
Chipinge West has very low numbers but when it was dissolved and absorbed they took the name Chipinge West and had to do away with the name Musikavanhu, which is the name of the chief from Chipinge. May we kindly look at that particular issue? Some wards were taken and put to Chipinge. May we look at this issue, the effect of Chipinge South, Chipinge Central and Chipinge West which were affected by the movement of wards? We do not understand why this was done. We actually go back to the issue of movement wards. They never looked at the mountain between these two constituencies. We are looking at Waterfalls Mountain that is dividing Ward 6 and Ward 2. It means the ward centre would be behind the mountain and these people will have to go round the mountain. We have mentioned this issue so that we pay attention to the issue of Chipinge as well as we rectify these issues.
This exercise has shifted people from their geographical locations with regard to chieftainship. People are moving from Musikavanhu to Chief Mutema. Others are also moving from headman Chindukunya to another headman. It is our humble plea that when you look at this issue of wards and constituencies, where we see it fit that everything is normal, let us not destabilise that scenario. Let us leave it as that but where we have a problem, we need to rectify accordingly.
Still on that issue, we would like to look at Mutare North. It has Wards 5 and 35 that are close to Gimboki near Dangamvura. Mutare North has 37 000 registered voters and it wants to remove 4 000 voters. If we look at physical features as well as community interest, Ward 35 is very small. We would just take Ward 35 but we removed Ward 2 and sent it to Makoni District. Ward 2 that was removed is under Chief Marange and it was sent to a district under Chief Makoni whilst we also have a physical feature in the form of Tungwizi River. This is a major feature on the map. There is already a traditional leadership dispute between Chief Marange and Chief Chiduku.
If you go to Odzi, there is a big stone that was marked by these chiefs to divide these places. If we are to go by this report, are we not fuelling the already existing land dispute? I suggest we focus on Gimboki and Dangamvura. If it was possible, I would suggest that each district must come up with its own wards and constituencies in order to address these discrepancies.
Looking at everything that has been mentioned, it is my humble plea Mr. President that ZEC as a Commission be given adequate time to work on this particular issue. They should not rush through this report. There is a provision in the Constitution to say if you are not yet done with delimitation, you are allowed to go to elections using the old boundaries and by so doing, we can give ZEC ample time to work on these boundaries. We are neither forcing nor hurrying ZEC to finish this document in any way. People are not happy and do not understand this document. During COPAC outreach, there were wide consultations and I wish ZEC could do the same. I am kindly asking ZEC to use all the time they have to work on this document without hurrying towards the cut-off date of 30 May. People did not manage to register to vote in time. They should be given ample time and they should not rush through the report.
*HON. SEN. MANYAU: Thank you very much Mr. President. I would like to add just a few words to this debate. I would like to focus on the issue of those who are disabled in this country. Those who are disabled and registered to vote in this country are just but a few. Looking at this process, we discovered that we have the right to vote just like any other people who are living in Zimbabwe.
Looking at what ZEC has done, it actually makes it more difficult for those who are disabled because it is as good as if we have been removed from voting. Disabled people have psychological maps which they have developed and they know which voting station they are supposed to go to. These are the boundaries they know for a very long time. So, after all these changes to say can you go and accompany me to go and change my polling stations because it has changed through this exercise, it is actually very difficult.
For those in the rural areas and disabled, there is no road for them to use. Mobility is very difficult for those who are disabled. For us to say go and vote at a place which is 300km away, who will accompany these disabled people to these new polling stations? This is why some people say people with disabilities do not see the importance of voting. It is because of the circumstances where they start thinking of distances. We have people who are disabled in Zimbabwe who are willing to go and vote but with such distances it will be a toll order.
If we go back to census that was conducted last year, the way they were asking their questions from disabled people was something that was not proper. As people who are disabled, we are disgruntled.
I agree with my fellow Senators in this House that ZEC should be given ample time to work on this delimitation issue so that everyone is well catered for. I thank you.
HON. SEN. CHIEF NGUNGUMBANE: Thank you for the opportunity that you have accorded me. I feel honoured and privileged to contribute to this very important debate on the delimitation report. It will go in the annals of Parliament as the first Parliament that has undertaken this exercise. I will not dwell much on the issues that have been raised by my colleagues but I would like to refer this House to one of the founding values and principles. As Africans, we are defined by our values, ubuntu or hunhu, that guides us as human beings.
If you open Section 3 (1) (e) of the Constitution, it says Zimbabwe is founded on respect of the following values and principles. I will jump the rest and go to (e). It says recognition of inherent dignity and the worth of each human being. So it puts us as equal people and as an individual, if you want to destroy somebody, just take away their dignity. This Constitution provides that even in case of a State of Emergency, you cannot take away the right to life or inherent dignity. If ZEC has not consulted the totality of the Zimbabwe population, it has taken away those people’s inherent dignity. Those people feel worthless because they have not been consulted. Various stakeholders have raised that issue of not being consulted and the institution of traditional leaders is one of them. In any societal structure, if one is not consulted, it creates suspicion and it brings instability to that organisation. From what I have heard, this report as it is, could in a way bring some instability in this country if we were to use this Delimitation Report tomorrow to hold elections.
If you look at Section 172, it says the Constitution provides that Parliament, among other things is to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of Zimbabwe. So indirectly, Parliament has an obligation to promote and maintain peace in Zimbabwe at all times. No wonder why this same provision provides that if the President is to declare war, he should come and seek authority from Parliament. It therefore underscores the point that as this august House, we have an obligation to maintain peace. As it is, this report has brought a lot of suspicion, hearsay and people are not sure. If people are not sure of tomorrow, generally there is no peace within them. So, what constitutes instability in my argument? Firstly, it is that ZEC did not properly educate the citizens of Zimbabwe towards this exercise. It failed to note the misconception that if we talk of registration, we are talking of elections. I was not aware but this is a lesson to me that when we talk of delimitation among other things, we want to cut the national cake so that everybody referred to in Section 3 of the Constitution, the worth of each human being, and ZEC, among other things provides the knife that will cut. But if you cut and give more to one constituency and give less to another, then there is no equal development. You are destroying the fundamental principles.
Mr. President, I remember the 2008 report; it noted the 2008 elections report. It noted that only 20% of the population voted in 2008. If we were to take that and use it in research methodology, then we are saying that this report directly or indirectly catered for those people that participated because the impression that ZEC has brought is to say we only allocate resources to or the delimitation report will only provide resources for those people who have registered to vote. What about the majority that have not registered? I think it is one of the flaws that ZEC should have taken note of. Even the process itself, people were confused and they did not know. There was the mobile voter registration blitz that was carried out by the central registry. In certain areas you would find that central registry would come in after ZEC had done registration and for you to register one of the inputs you are supposed to have an I.D. but some people did not have the necessary requirements for them to be registered, which forced them to move to district centres yet the majority of the people in the rural areas cannot afford. To them it is not a basic need because they have other pressing issues that they need to look at.
I feel that ZEC needs to be given time so that people will only have this exercise when there is voter registration by central registry coming to provide birth certificates. ZEC will then come at the end but in most cases, we have ZEC coming in and that created a lot of mishaps. I think that as much as we are a Constitutional democracy we cannot run away from the political realities on the ground. I am not saying that ZEC should become a political animal but in executing its mandate ZEC should have looked at what is prevailing on the ground and not use a formula that will create problems and bring instability on the ground. It is my hope and prayer that ZEC goes back and redo this process.
I remember, as traditional leaders in our various provinces, we received information on where wards were moved to. You would find people from Chief Ntabeni were moved, the polling station as it is to Chief Ngungumbane’s area. The question is, have these people from Chief Ntabeni’s area moved to my area of jurisdiction. We were told that ZEC did not come to create new boundaries for traditional leaders but it has left a lot of questions than answers. When it comes to the allocation of these national resources, these people will have to come to my jurisdiction. They are from Chief Ntabeni with a different village head that does not fall in my register. Are we not creating a war between these two chieftainships because chieftainship is all about control of people and its resources? My so called people from Chief Ntabeni are benefitting resources that have been allocated to me. Are we not going to have problems of jurisdictions where one chief says because people have been given to me, I will then create bigger boundaries? Those are some of the issues that ZEC should have consulted traditional leaders on and see how best they could rationalise people from one polling station to the other.
The report itself will take fundis to read and understand and the majority of us here might fail. Think of people in the rural areas, some of the few that had read had a problem that election polling stations are no longer referred to their original names. We had polling station A but what now appears is not that name but a special code. If a constituency has 20 or 30 polling stations. Will the people be able to refer those polling stations to their codes? I think it is an exercise Mr. President that was artificial. It did not look at the realities on the ground and I hope that this would be corrected. Mr. President, thank you very much for affording me this time to make my voice heard on this very important process.
+HON. SEN. NKOMO: Thank you Mr. President for the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Delimitation Report that was tabled by Hon. Sen. Muzenda and seconded by Hon. Sen. Mwonzora. Mr. President, I do not have a lot of words as other Hon. Members and I would say a lot has already been said that is entailed in this report about the delimitation which we feel is not in accordance with the Constitution. This highlights that legislators have been awakened by ZEC and are standing on feet to defend this Constitution from the breach that has been done by ZEC; it is clear that the Hon. Members have defended the Constitution through their debates.
Mr. President, it was realized that ZEC should be there to undertake this mammoth task of voter registration. It was good that ZEC should be there. My question is; ZEC is a Commission but who is supposed to whip and correct ZEC so that they would not have taken a half baked report to His Excellency the President? My question is; who is in charge of these Commissions? If you check from this Delimitation Report, you will realise that ZEC has made a lot of mistakes in this report. Before ZEC submitted the report to the most important person, His Excellency, someone should have gone through the report. ZEC can make mistakes like anyone else but ZEC should be in a position to identify these mistakes before they take this report forward.
I come from Matebeleland South and most of these constituencies have been removed. In Matebeleland South, some of the wards have been moved to Mangwe or Umzingwane and all this is an indication that these mistakes should be rectified. On the same note, we are not saying that they have done the greatest mistake but mistakes are mistakes. Therefore, I propose that this Committee should go back and rectify the mistakes that they have done in this delimitation report. We really want ZEC to operate like other Commissions in other countries but it should be very professional.
As other Members have said before, there is a disaster in these constituencies. How do you remove a ward from Mangwe to Matopo South crossing Sebukwe River more than 70 km. As some have said, there is a lot of suspicion. It is likely that there is someone behind this jeopardy. As we heard people talk about delimitation and the registration we do not look outside election. In everything that happens in relation to delimitation and registration, it is in line with elections. Therefore, ZEC should demystify this only through education so that the whole of Zimbabwe can know that delimitation and registration is not primarily on elections but also for development.
Right now as we speak as Hon. Members, people in the rural areas are waiting to hear how we are going to solve this problem. Everyone is so shocked by what ZEC has done and they want a quick remedy to this. Like what one Hon. Member has said that it will not take us a lot of time, it can be stopped and we rectify the mistake whilst we use the 2018 boundaries. As I have alluded to earlier0, I will not take a lot of time, I thank you.
+HON. SEN. N. KHUMALO: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to this debate. Firstly, I want to thank ZEC for it has done the job that it was supposed to do. However, ZEC did this work in a most disappointing manner. Why am I saying it is a disappointing manner, it is because ZEC used the Constitution of 1979 yet we have a new Constitution which is a Zimbabwean Constitution. There was no reason for ZEC to use the 1979 Constitution. This is what contributed to its failure to execute its mandate constitutionally.
What also makes me think that ZEC did disappointing work is that I come from Umzingwane and from Umzingwane ZEC took two wards, Wards 7 and 13 to Insiza which is a distance between Insiza and Umzingwane. This contributes to a lot of quarrels among people, especially towards elections. When you tell the people in Insiza that you are now going to vote in Umzingwane for this particular MP, there will be a lot of quarrels amongst our people but for administrative purposes, I think they can still continue doing so. There was need for voter education. Another ward in Umzingwane was taken to Matopo. This is also another thing that this ZEC report is so disappointing.
I will move to Zaka Constituency which has Zaka East and West but to our surprise, ZEC has merged these two to come up with Zaka South. How do you dissolve two constituencies to come up with another constituency? If we say another MP has to preside over Zaka South, you will realise that this MP will have to move around a long distance. This will result in the electorates failing to find representation in Parliament because of the distance ZEC has given these electorates. It was going to be beneficial and better that we are now towards elections and we use the old delimitation. However, the old delimitation has been affected by almost 15 years, which is not in accordance with our Constitution. We look forward to the current delimitation but we cannot use it because we did not use the Constitution. Therefore, these two delimitation reports cannot be used for elections because one is very old and the other one is not in accordance with the Constitution. ZEC should go back and come up with a correct and good delimitation report.
What do we do since we are close to elections? I suggest that ZEC should not take time to rectify its report and come up with a good report so that whenever we have elections in future, no one will contest the elections. I think it will be good that elections can be taken forward for sometime so that we give ZEC enough time to set out its mess. ZEC has a lot to do to rectify its report. I thank you.
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Hon. President, I would like to thank all Hon. Senators for debating very positively to my motion and giving it explicit examples which I think have enriched the analysis. I now move that this House considers and adopts the Report of the Ad hoc Committee on the Analysis of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission 2022 Preliminary Report on the Delimitation Exercise.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: By virtue of Senate debating that report and adopting it, it becomes a report by Parliament.
HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: I second.
HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I would like to seek clarity about the report. Are we agreeing with report and recommendations of the report?
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Yes. It means we have adopted the recommendations of the report. Now the report will go to the President. His Excellency will refer it back to ZEC but we are basically saying the analysis which was done by the Ad Hoc Committee is spot on. I think it was summarised very incessantly by the Hon. Sen.
Motion put and adopted.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND CENTRAL PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA), the House adjourned at Five Minutes Past Five o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 31st January, 2023.