The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) final delimitation report gazetted by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on the 20th of February 2023 can best be understood as a ZANU PF scheme for maintaining a two-thirds majority in Parliament, says the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI).

According to ZDI three observations in the ZEC’s final delimitation report corroborate this argument.

“First is that, ZEC deliberately applies 2007/8 total seats per province as its basis in coming up with the 2023 framework for allocating constituencies and sticks to its erroneous application of section 161(6).

“There is no justifiable reason for adopting this framework other than the desire to avoid loss of constituencies from ZANU PF stronghold provinces needed to secure a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

“Second is that, ZEC disregarded adult population dynamics per province presented in the 2022 census when it allocated constituencies per province. If it was used, 7 seats were going to be transferred from ZANU PF stronghold provinces to the opposition stronghold provinces.

“Third is that, ZEC disregarded registered voter proportions per province in the total national voter population in coming up with its constituency allocation framework.

“If they were used as basis for allocating constituencies per province, 3 constituencies were going to be transferred from ZANU PF stronghold provinces to opposition stronghold provinces,” says ZDI.

The purpose of delimitation is to ensure proportional representation of the adult population per province in Parliament.

“The ZEC delimitation report defeats this purpose. ZEC states on page ix that delimitation seeks to ensure equality of voting strength determined by the number of “registered voters”.

“However, an analysis of the total number of seats (constituencies) allocated per province shows that ZEC accepted this objective of delimitation but acted the opposite way through manipulation and gerrymandering,” adds ZDI.