NEW Constituencies were created in Manicaland Province after 25 out of the 26 constituencies were modified in the recently gazetted Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Delimitation Report.
The report, which was compiled by ZEC, was gazetted by President Mnangagwa on Monday.
This resulted in a new Chikanga Constituency being created, while Musikavanhu and Chipinge West were merged to create Mutema-Musikavanhu Constituency.
As of May 30, 2022, Manicaland had 738 624 registered voters, making it the third province with the highest number of potential voters after Harare Metropolitan’s 952 102 and Midlands’ 762 928 registered voters respectively.
The province retained its 26 Constituencies, while Harare has 30.
Midlands has 28, while Masvingo has 26 Constituencies.
According to the Delimitation Report, the Dangamvura-Chikanga Constituency was split due to its high population, while Musikavanhu and Chipinge West were merged.
The report reads: “Musikavanhu and Chipinge West were merged to create Mutema-Musikavanhu Constituency. The collapsed Constituency formed Chikanga Constituency after Dangamvura-Chikanga was split.
“For the delimitation of wards, registered voters per polling station area were used to ensure that in as far as possible, wards have more or less equal numbers of registered voters across the local authority. The polling station area defines the area where voters are drawn from.
“Within a local authority, three scenarios existed, that is, a ward had registered voter population below the minimum threshold, a ward had registered voter population within the threshold, and a ward had registered voter population above the maximum threshold.
“In instances where the registered voter population was below the minimum threshold, either a whole polling station area or village adjacent to the nearest ward boundary was annexed to the respective ward.”
The report added: “This was to ensure that community of interest was maintained. Where it was not possible to meet the minimum registered voter threshold for a ward by annexing a polling station area or village, two or more wards were merged to form one.
“In instances where wards were merged, the ward that had the highest number of registered voters retained its name and number. The remaining ward number(s) were then assigned to wards that emerged from the split of oversubscribed wards.
“Where the voter population was above the maximum threshold for a particular local authority, the ward was split into two or more wards. After splitting the ward, one of the wards retained the name of the original ward while the other ward(s) was numbered or named based on the names/numbers of the collapsed ward(s) in a non-sequential way. This resulted in ward numbering changing/disregarding sequence but maintaining existing ward numbers in the rest of the local authority.”
There have been boundary changes to 28 existing wards, while boundaries for eight wards remain unchanged.
Buhera Rural District Council has 33 wards with 101 131 registered voters.
Chimanimani Rural District Council has 23 wards. As of May 30, 2022, the district had 55 026 registered voters.
In order to determine the voter population thresholds permissible for the Chimanimani Rural District Council wards, the total number of registered voters was divided by 23 wards, resulting in an average of 2 393 voters per each ward.
A 20 percent variance from the ward average was then determined, resulting in a maximum voter threshold of 2 870 and a minimum threshold of 1 914 voters per ward.
Chipinge Rural District Council has 30 wards and the total number of registered voters was 105 191.
Chipinge Town Council has eight wards.
The total number of registered was 13 835, while Makoni Rural District Council has 39 wards with 103 498 registered voters.
City of Mutare has 19 wards and 104 802 registered voters, while Mutare Rural District Council had 36 wards with 107 994 registered voters as at May 20, 2022.
Mutasa Rural District Council has 31 wards and 72 033 registered voters, while Nyanga Rural District Council has 31 wards. The total number of registered voters was 57 810 as at 30 May 2022.
Rusape Town Council has 10 wards.
The total number of registered voters was 17 304 as at May 20, 2022.
However, while the total voter population for Rusape Town Council is 14 944, the actual total voter population for the town council is 17 304 because the Rusape Town Council’s boundary changed to include Ward 16 of Makoni Rural District Council.
ZANU PF Manicaland provincial chairman, Cde Tawanda Mukodza said they welcome the outcome of the Delimitation Report and are ready for the 2023 harmonised elections.
“The Delimitation Report is a constitutional requirement and its gazetting shows that our President, President Mnangagwa, respects and upholds the Constitution. New boundaries and Constituencies like Chikanga and Mutema-Musikavanhu were created.
“We now have an extra urban Constituency in Chikanga, and we have done our homework very well through the massive voter mobilisation programme. The creation of that new Constituency will not give us any headaches because the electorate is now aware that the opposition parties are a total failure,” said Cde Mukodza.
National Constitutional Assembly president, Professor Madhuku, said they will work with the new Delimitation Report.
“We will work with the provisions of the gazetted Delimitation Report. Whether there are new or old boundaries, we will abide by that report. We are ready for the elections. Our main worry is the nomination fees for the contesting parties and candidates which were pegged by ZEC as they are exorbitant and beyond the reach of many prospective candidates,” he said.
ZEC set candidate nomination fees at US$20 000, US$1 000 and US$200 for aspiring Presidential, Members of Parliament and Councillors respectively.
Citizens Coalition for Change Manicaland provincial spokesperson, Mr David Panganai, said they are still studying the report as they wait for guidance from their national office.
“We are studying the report while waiting for guidance from our national office. However, since the Delimitation Report has been gazetted, it is now law and we will work with its provisions. While we are studying the report, we are also on the ground informing people about the new boundaries and constituencies. We are also encouraging more people to vote,” said Mr Panganai.
Mutare resident, Mr Godfrey Sithole said they expected Manicaland to get an additional constituency considering its number of registered voters.
“We expected the total number of constituencies in Manicaland to increase to 27, instead of 26. Although some wards were merged, we feel it will not sway the voting pattern. Some wards now have lesser voters, while others have more voters,” he said.
Ms Panashe Chingati of Mutasa Central said: “We hope ZEC will carry out another voter education programme before the harmonised elections to educate people on the new changes. For us in the rural areas, we do not have access to some of this crucial information and it is through voter education that we will be enlightened on our new voting centres.”