READ: ZEC Delimitation Report Presentation by Prince Dubeko Sibanda

Parliament of Zimbabwe

This is the presentation on ZEC Delimitation Report by Binga North Legislator Prince Dubeko Sibanda, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) in Parliament on Tuesday 17 January 2023.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker for giving me an opportunity to deliberate on the two reports that are before the House. It is an honour Hon. Speaker that – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Members, can we give opportunity to the Hon. Member who is speaking.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. It is an honour that I participated in the work of the Ad Hoc Committee to look into the preliminary Report of ZEC. Hon. Speaker, I am glad that the Committee made a number of observations and recommendations. From where I stand Hon. Speaker, I would conclude by saying that this report is not a good report, I mean the ZEC Report. It is not a good report but the report is not a bad report and I will expound as I debate.

Some of the observations that were made by the Committee Hon. Speaker, have been debated by my colleagues and these include the fact that ZEC did not consider the final census results because the Census Report is not yet before this House and that is Hon. Speaker, failure to observe Section 161 (1). The section enjoins ZEC to only do its delimitation after the census has taken place.

Hon. Speaker, one believes that the intention of the legislature in putting the delimitation process only after the census would have been finalised was meant to accommodate certain issues. Those issues include the fact that the Census Report is able to indicate to the nation, for example, migration of citizens from certain areas to other areas and therefore when the Delimitation Report is done, it is meant that it should concur with the findings of the Census Report. In the absence of the Census Report Hon. Speaker, it becomes very difficult to validate some of the findings of ZEC.

I will give you an example Hon. Speaker under Bulawayo Metropolitan Province. The ZEC Delimitation Report indicates that Bulawayo Province has lost about 42 000 registered voters between 2008 and 2022. Now, when a Census Report is available, it becomes easy to compare whether the movements of citizens between areas or between Bulawayo and other areas is supporting the findings by ZEC in its Delimitation Report or not.

However Hon. Speaker, even as your Committee made its observations and findings, it made its recommendations on the basis of knowing that the past two to three years were not ordinary years for this country. There was a supervening impossibility; there was a demerger that curtailed the finishing of the Census Report. I am sure the House is aware that almost three Statutory Instruments were put in place in order to try and make sure that there is census being conducted in this country but it could not take place because of the COVID-19 pandemic that visited the whole world.

Hon. Speaker, the question that is currently gripping the nation is whether this report, as it is, should be thrown into the bin or ZEC should be given more time to consider the observations and recommendations that are coming from this House or that the nation should revert to the 2007/8 Report or …

THE HON. SPEAKER: Do you not mean the Delimitation Report?

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: The Delimitation Report, whether we should revert to the 2007/8 Delimitation Report or should ZEC be given more time to attempt to rectify the observations that have been made by your Committee? This is my observation Hon. Speaker.

2007/8 Delimitation Report speaks to the …

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order, Hon. Members, you cannot be standing while the other Hon. Member is debating. May you bring those papers for others please? Order! The Hon. Member Sibanda is making very good points but in terms of our Standing Order No. 111, we should not be repeating what has been said. What you are saying was captured by Hon. T. Mliswa. The question of census, the question of COVID was covered by Hon. Mliswa very adequately.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: The point has been taken Hon. Speaker.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Speaker, the question that I want to speak to is that under the current circumstances where…

Hon. Members having been making some noise upon receiving the Delimitation Map.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Members. You just need to have a look on what you are seeing and return to your colleague.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. The question that I want to speak to is whether in view of the findings, observations and recommendations that have been made by your Committee and as they are going to be either validated or added to by this House, whether ZEC should be given more time to rectify those observations and implement them, or whether this nation as it heads towards its General Elections, should revert to the 2007/2008 Delimitation Report. I submit that the variations or the failure to observe the law that was done by ZEC in its preliminary report are not fatal to an extent that this nation should revert to the 2007/2008 Delimitation Report or that this nation should be forced to postpone elections in order to give ZEC more time.

I will support my assertion Hon. Speaker by indicating that most of the observations that were made by your Committee are actually implementable within the time that is left and to allow this nation to proceed with the elections as planned and as given by the Constitution. I am saying so because the issue of the census report is pardonable because that forced ZEC to act within a particular point of time. It is my submission Hon. Speaker that while this recommendation has been made, there is no way that ZEC can start the process afresh because the horses have already bolted in terms of the first recommendation.

On the issue of misinterpretation and misapplication of the twenty per cent variance, I submit that within the timeframe that is left, ZEC can comply with the recommendations that were made by your Committee and be able to make sure that it finalises the process of gazetting the Delimitation Report without affecting the time within which the elections are scheduled. However, for posterity and it is also important to take note that this is the first time that delimitation has been conducted in terms of the 2013 Constitution.

Therefore, I submit that going back to the 2007/2008 report is not something that is favourable because the 2007/2008 report is overtaken by 15 years and obviously there are a lot of things that have taken place between 2008 and 2022.

There have been so much movement of voters between different areas to an extent that the current report could be closer to speaking to the true reflection of the voter population distribution in this country compared to 2007/2008 and for that purpose, I am more amenable to the current report being adopted by ZEC with recommendations that have come from the Ad hoc Committee and from this House and that the nation should go ahead to conduct its elections within the time that it is meant to take place.

We cannot at this moment condemn this report and then say let us have the work of moving the elections from the time that they were scheduled. Those are my submissions. I thank you.

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