Data analyst group and election watchdog, Team Pachedu, has dismissed the recently gazetted Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (ZEC) delimitation report, saying it contains several constitutional anomalies. The group accuses both ZEC and President Emmerson Mnangagwa of flouting the constitution in carrying out the delimitation exercise, which was expected to usher in renewed hopes for democratic elections in Zimbabwe.
In a statement, Team Pachedu expressed discontent with the “brazen disregard” of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the Electoral Act by President Mnangagwa and ZEC. The group claims that the delimitation process has been marred by “malicious violations” of the constitution and accuses Mnangagwa of usurping ZEC’s power and authority in the process.
According to Team Pachedu, Mnangagwa tabled the preliminary delimitation report before Parliament outside the stipulated time frame and gazetted the delimitation report after the 14 days prescribed by the constitution. The group further highlights that the President must gazette the boundaries of wards and constituencies “as finally determined by the Commission,” not as finally determined by the President of Zimbabwe. They argue that this reinforces the fact that the only absolute power and authority that can determine the finality and conclusiveness of the delimitation report lies solely with ZEC, not with President Mnangagwa.
The group also accused ZEC of being opaque in carrying out the delimitation exercise. Prior to the gazetting of the delimitation report, Mnangagwa had come under political pressure after government figures aired contrasting views that he had not received the report from ZEC. With the delay in gazetting, Mnangagwa had been accused of tampering with the delimitation report.
The contentious delimitation report paves the way for upcoming elections to be held under new boundaries in some areas. However, the report has aroused furore from political players who accuse ZEC and President Mnangagwa of flouting the constitution in conducting the exercise. With the criticism from Team Pachedu, the legitimacy of the delimitation exercise and the upcoming elections could be called into question.