Delimitation has always favoured Zanu PF: Freedom Alliance

The delimitation process has been the cornerstone of corrupt electoral practices in Zimbabwe since 1980, says the Freedom Alliance political party, noting that it favours the ruling Zanu PF, which carves out constituencies based on the patterns of their political support.

This observation follows the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) delimitation report which has been criticised for its many flaws.

In an interview with CITE, Moses Mzila Ndlovu, Deputy National Leader of the Freedom Alliance party, claimed the ruling Zanu PF party has made certain that when delimitation comes every five years, they create constituencies based on the patterns of their political support and their opponents.

“As long as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is manned by Zanu PF, we should all be assured of the fact that one of the key or major areas of rigging the elections is the gerrymandering of the constituencies,” he alleged.

“In fact, we should be talking of gerrymandering rather than delimitation because we have never had transparently genuine delimitation of constituencies. This carving out of constituencies has always been influenced or decided upon by what Zanu PF thinks are the levels of support or non-support for themselves.” 

Gerrymandering is the process of dividing or arranging a territorial unit into election districts in a way that gives one political party an unfair advantage in elections.

Ndlovu, a former co-minister of national healing and reconciliation, said it would be difficult to expect free and fair elections in Zimbabwe when such a sticking point as gerrymandering remains unaddressed.

“Gerrymandering has never been dealt with since 1980 and it is not about to be dealt with. We should never ever mislead ourselves into thinking that Zanu PF will let go of the levers of control around the gerrymandering of constituencies or parliamentary constituencies. It’s not going to happen and they are not going to allow it,” he claimed.

As a result, Ndlovu contended that believing any Zanu PF opponent can ever win an election against the ruling party when it controls all levers of influence over election outcomes “does not make sense.”

“Of course, one respects the bravery of those who oppose Zanu PF with all the dangers that go with the opposing Zanu PF. But ultimately what counts is that you may win the vote of the people, but you never win the elections and that is the bottom line,” he said. 

He emphasised that activists or the opposition “can shout as much as they want” but as long as Zanu PF is in charge of the delimitation and gerrymandering, the election outcome will favour the ruling party. 

There are several additional issues that citizens should also bring to the attention of the government, said the Freedom Alliance leader.

“Like denying the people in the diaspora the right to vote. I mean your whole middle class is in exile. These are not people in the Diaspora. They are really in exile and they’re not allowed to vote. How can you then rightfully choose people to govern the country when large portions of eligible people are denied the right to vote? It just doesn’t make sense,” Ndlovu said. 

He also raised concerns about the country’s state apparatus cooperating and favouring Zanu PF

“Whether it’s police, CIO, army, they are all on the side of Zanu PF. Even those who don’t support Zanu PF know they are expected to support Zanu PF by voting Zanu PF,” Ndlovu said, noting that advance balloting where members of the uniformed forces cast their votes before the election dates was challenging as that voting process “was not monitored by opponents of Zanu PF, and so you have this series of unfair, unjust ways of conducting elections.”

Ndlovu stated it was time everyone who was concerned about change came together to discuss how to respond to these “realities pertaining to Zanu PF’s unflinching commitment to rig elections.”

“Unless that happens, we will continue the cycles of voting and losing the elections. Even if you win the vote you lose the elections. That is the announcement that’s going to be made in the final analysis, whether it is made at the electoral counting centres or it is made at the Supreme Court. But the truth is that Zanu PF will win the elections,” he warned.

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