By Ruvimbo Chatyoka
ZIMBABWE Election Support Network (ZESN) has moved to capacitate Parliamentary members of the portfolio committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentarian Affairs on the theory and practice of the Delimitation process to capacitate them with an insight role and offer effective support to the Delimitation process.
ZESN noted that, “The Delimitation of Electoral Boundaries is one of the key processes in the Electoral Cycle, with a bearing on the credibility of Electoral outcomes. If Electoral boundaries are not periodically adjusted, population inequalities develop across districts.”
Furthermore, ZESN expects the process to include the Delimitation body, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) being a non-partisan player, professional and not under the influence of any person or body.
Likewise, the voter registration process is expected to be upscaled before the commencement of the Delimitation process to ensure that the voter’s rolls is updated, while ZEC is expected to consult stakeholders and build consensus on the process.
Moreover, ZESN also called for citizen participation in the process, a clear road map availed to stakeholders and adequate funding to be to the commission on time.
Following presentations that were made to ZESN by several stakeholders, the youth sector was that census data must be included in the Delimitation report because it will assist in noting the areas that have the highest concentration of eligible voters.
The representative from the Disability sector noted that special measures should be taken to ensure equality for persons with disabilities. They called for information on the delimitation process to be publicized in accessible formats, which include sign language, braille and captions for information to be accessible to everyone. A lack of information contributes significantly to the violation of persons with disabilities right to participate in electoral processes
Their recommendations included the need to ensure inclusive media for all PWDs and reasonable accessibility in the delimitation processes, and ensuring an accurate database linked to disability, which will enable ease in identifying areas where several persons with disabilities reside.
From the women sector, it was noted that previous delimitation processes recorded many challenges, including a lack of transparency, absence of involvement of interested stakeholders, especially women, lack of public participation, inadequate publicity, lack of independence of the previous Delimitation Commission and inadequate time for the delimitation process. In observing election processes the women sector noted that their participation is not well informed and infringed with high levels of intimidation.
Furthermore, for women in rural areas, they are most marginalized in terms of accessing the information on electoral laws, as they have limited sources of information provided in vernacular languages and this impacts on their full participation and representation in electoral processes.
By Ruvimbo Chatyoka