At least six Constituencies in Bulawayo are in the red line if the number of registered voters remains low.
This was said by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) Ndodana Ndhlovu during an edition of the Her Vote Speaks Radio Program which was conducted in order to raise awareness on the ongoing voter registration process and the delimitation process.
“Each Constituency should at least have at least 26000 registered voters to ensure equality in voting strength but the current number of registered voters places at least six areas at risk of being combined,” said Ndhlovu.
Ndhlovu noted that Bulawayo currently has a total of at least 257 446 registered voters and six Constituencies have less than the stipulated number of voters, the lowest having 14 000 registered voters and the highest having 18 000.
“Bulawayo has 12 Constituencies and the number of people that have registered to vote in Bulawayo is enough for at least nine constituencies. This means there will be fewer representatives in Parliament,” he said.
Ndhlovu noted that Section 161 of the Constitution endows the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) the authority to create Constituencies through a delimitation exercise which is supposed to be done after every 10 years.
The delimitation exercise is expected to be done between October 2022 and December 2022, after the national census, which is expected to be done between April 2022 and August 2022.
Speaking during the same radio programme, Florence Ndhlovu a Human Rights and Governance Consultant noted that the delimitation exercise gives citizens the power to decide on the number of Constituencies in an area, using statistics on the number of registered voters.
“The more the registered voters, the more the constituencies, the more the resources that will be allocated towards the area. Areas such as Magwegwe Constituency which have fewer voters at 14 000 will lose Constituencies yet areas such as Cowdray Park with 34 000 will have more resources allocated to them,” she said.
Ndhlovu noted that to safeguard these constituencies, awareness needs to be raised to citizens on the need to register to vote.
“CSOs have a lot of work to do in light of the upcoming 2023 elections by creating awareness on the electoral processes including delimitation and registering to vote,” said Ndhlovu.
Ndhlovu encouraged CSOs to closely monitor the delimitation exercise so as to prevent any corruption citing that this process is likely to result in the rise of conflicts over electoral boundaries and ownership of civic areas.
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