THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has said the demarcation of constituency boundaries by the Delimitation Commission was clear testimony of the extent to whi
ch President Mugabe’s regime was prepared to go in turning national institutions into Zanu PF rigging apparatus.
The commission announced this week that it had finished redrawing the country’s 120 constituencies in preparation for the election in March.
The new demarcations increased seats in Zanu PF’s rural strongholds and cut the number in areas where the opposition enjoys support. The commission presented its report on the constituency boundaries, traditionally compiled before parliamentary elections, to President Mugabe in Harare on Monday.
“We will in due course naturally also be looking at making this information available to the public and the various parties that might want to participate in the election,” Mugabe said on national television after receiving the report.
MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi yesterday alleged that the commission had demarcated constituency boundaries in Zanu PF’s favour.
“The rigging of the 2005 general election has begun,” Nyathi said. “Using a partisan Delimitation Commission and a flawed voters roll from a corrupt and incompetent Registrar-General’s office, the Mugabe regime has begun to roll out its rigging plan.
“If the results of the Delimitation Commission (are) …anything to go by, then we have clear testimony of the extent to which the Mugabe regime is determined to subvert the democratic will of the people of Zimbabwe by turning national institutions into Zanu PF rigging apparatus in order to perpetuate its tyrannical rule,” Nyathi said.
The commission redistributed constituencies from Harare and Bulawayo due to what it claimed was urban to rural migration.
“It beats all logic that Harare, a city whose population has increased by 500 000 people according to census figures that were released by government this year, is supposed to have lost 50 000 voters,” Nyathi said. “The same trend is true for Bulawayo.
“The delimitation results clearly show a predetermined position naively crafted to favour Zanu PF. Where on earth under modern civilisation do you see people migrating from urban to rural constituencies? Is it coincidental that only areas that are predominantly MDC strongholds suffered voter migration to Zanu PF strongholds?” Nyathi asked.
Parts of Manicaland, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland West, where Zanu PF enjoys popular support, gained three constituencies. Harare and Matabeleland South provinces, opposition MDC strongholds, lost two constituencies.
Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly, a pressure group campaigning for a new constitution, said there was electoral manipulation through the commission.
“What it means is that Zanu PF has gained more seats in areas it is assured of victory and the MDC is the loser because they have lost two constituencies,” Madhuku said.
Nyathi said the MDC pointed out in early September when members of the Delimitation Commission were appointed that it had evidence that the process of re-drawing constituency boundaries ahead of the March 2005 parliamentary election had long been carried out under the instructions and guidance of officers from the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
The chairman of the commission, Judge George Chiweshe, was quoted as saying more than 5,6 million voters were registered to vote as at September 20.
The MDC said on Sunday it would decide in early January whether to contest the election, which it has threatened to boycott.
In August, the MDC announced it was suspending participation in all elections until Mugabe’s government implemented reforms in line with those agreed by the 14-nation Southern African Development Community.