BULAWAYO will not get any extra constituencies or wards, neither is it going to lose any according to the preliminary report of the delimitation exercise that is being conducted by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).
The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) was pushing for an additional six wards to be incorporated into the city during the delimitation exercise, which would have seen a number of areas that fall under Umguza constituency being incorporated into the city.
However, according to a preliminary provincial report compiled by Bulawayo District Elections Officer, Mr Ntando Gumede, the province is not going to have any additional seats or wards. Bulawayo has 12 seats in the National Assembly and 29 wards.
The report shows that the current figures will be maintained but the boundaries will be reconfigured with each constituency having an average of 22 000 registered voters. In the present set up the constituencies are Bulawayo Central, Bulawayo East, Bulawayo South, Emakhandeni-Entumbane, Lobengula, Luveve, Magwegwe, Makokoba, Nketa, Nkulumane, Pelandaba-Mpopoma and Pumula.
In the proposed new set up there will now be Bulawayo North comprising wards two and three, Bulawayo Central (wards one and four), Mpopoma-Mzilikazi (wards eight and nine), Bulawayo South (wards five and seven), Entumbane-Njube (ward 10 and 12), Emakhandeni-Luveve (wards 11 and 16), Nkulumane (wards 22 and 23), Cowdray Park (wards 6, 15 and 28), Nketa (wards 24, 25 and 26), Lobengula-Magwegwe (wards 14, 18 and 29), Pumula (wards 17, 19 and 27) and Pelandaba-Tshabalala (wards 13, 20 and 21).
Zec chief elections officer Mr Utoile Silaigwana said in preparation for mapping afresh electoral boundaries, the Commission was bringing together provincial and district maps with topographical features such as mountains, rivers, roads, communication lines, settlements and different types of land use. He said their expectation was that the process will be completed by December to ensure that the results were usable for the next harmonised elections set for next year.
“The Commission expects to conclude the exercise by December this year. In terms of Section 161(2) delimitation must be completed six months before the conduct of any general election for it to be applicable to that election. Failure to adhere to this provision means the results of the delimitation exercise will not apply for the next general election, as the Commission will be compelled by the law to revert to boundaries of the 2007/2008 delimitation.
“The Commission would like to assure the electorate that no one will be prejudiced by the delimitation outcome. The delimitation results will be an outcome based on the Commission’s adherence to the country’s legal provisions and fair practice. At all stages of the process, voter education and stakeholder engagements will be conducted to bring all interested parties on board,” said Mr Silaigwana in a statement.
He said Zec’s provincial and district offices are conducting the geo-referencing exercise, which is expected to be completed within the next few days.
“After geo-referencing, physical features that guide delimitation are extracted from the maps using computer-based software through a process called digitising. Digitising is followed by combining the extracted information with voter registration statistics of polling stations and physical addresses of voters to assist in drawing the polling areas so that each one of them remains within a stipulated voter population threshold,” he said.
Zec is in the process of delimiting the 210 constituency National Assembly seats for the 2023 polls in a manner that reflects the population distribution premised on latest census data. Due to different rates of population growth, migration and to land use changes, the boundaries of constituencies and wards need to be redrawn on a regular basis. – Sunday News