Delimitation exercise opportunity for voter mobilisation

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247
  • 210 constuencies
  • MDC strongholds projected to lose seats
  • Zanu PF strongholds projected to gain more seats

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) recently released a provisionary 2023 constituencies table, with changes to the number of constituncies conspicuous in eight of the country’s provinces.

The quartet of Bulawayo, Masvingo, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South are envisaged to drop a cumulative eight constituncies, whereas Harare, Manicaland, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central will up their tally by nine.

Meanwhile, Mashonaland East and Midlands are expected to remain static at 23 and 28 constituencies, respectively.

Under the new electoral laws, an area should at least hit a minimum of 20 000 registered voters so that it qualifies as a constituency but should not exceed 40 000.

A cursory look at the constituencies table made public by Zec shows Harare as the biggest beneficiary, moving from 29 in the 2018 elections to 33 constituencies presently.

Manicaland province was able to gain a constituency, whereas the two of Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central each gained two constituencies, moving from 22 to 24 and 18 to 20.

Mashonaland East and the Midlands provinces have currently maintained their number of constituencies from the 2018 elections at 23 and 28.

It is interesting to note that in Harare – where the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance almost cleared the bar in terms of snatching all the seats available (except for Harare South which went to Zanu PF) – has become the biggest beneficiary province in terms of increased constituencies.

But political commentators allege that such seats could be in Zanu PF’s so-called safe-zones such as Harare South and Epworth, and have accused the opposition MDC of being lethargic by not encouraging their members to register for the pending 2023 elections.

“Zanu PF is leaving nothing to chance. It is busy encouraging its membership to register for 2023, while the opposition are locked in perrenial internal power struggles,” Gifford Njanji from Dzivaresekwa said.

In Mashonaland Central, Zanu PF swept clean the slate, bagging all the 18 parliamentary seats available against a pathetic performance by the MDC Alliance.

The story was the same in Mashonaland West, where Zanu PF again crushed the MDC Alliance, running away with 17 out of the 21 seats available.

Clearly, the results from the two provinces above give the ruling Zanu PF a headstart, with the four additional seats in those provinces being just what the doctor ordered for the liberation war party.

The same applies for Manicaland province where Zanu PF scooped 19 parliamentary seats against MDC Alliance’s seven.

And now there seems to be another bonus seat added in Manicaland for Zanu PF, something likely to pile misery on Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, the MDC.

In the four provinces that dropped eight seats on the Zec constituency table – Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Masvingo – again the MDC should be more worried, losing a total of two seats in what appears to be their backyards – Bulawayo and Matabeleland North.

It is only in Matabeleland South where Zanu PF should sweat over the three seats dropped, having won 12 out of the 13 seats contested in 2018.

The number of constituencies in Mashonaland East and the Midlands have not changed, giving equal chances to contesting parties to up their campaign strategies in the two provinces.

The 2023 constituency table is a message to Zimbabwe’s mainstream political parties: Go into serious voter education and mobilisation campaigns for 2023 or else be doomed!

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