By- Zanu FF Matabeleland South province has said that they might lose more seats if their party does not intensify to campaign in the next year’s elections.
They said their party should campaign to get more people to register to vote before the delimitation exercise as the province risks losing over five constituencies.
Delimitation, which is carried out after a population census and is provided for in Sections 160 and 161 of the Constitution, refers to the dividing of the country into constituencies and wards for the purposes of elections and involves coming up with a minimum threshold of registered voters in each of the country’s 210 National Assembly constituencies.
The exercise could see some constituencies with a low number of registered voters being merged with others while some could be split into more than one, subject to the number of registered voters.
The region, which is least represented in Parliament, has 38 parliamentary seats out of 210 constituencies.
Bulawayo has 12 seats with Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North having 13 each.
The remainder of the seats are spread across the other seven provinces outside the Matabeleland region.
It has been previously reported that the Matabeleland region has the least number of registered voters countrywide, a development that could eventually result in the loss of constituencies ahead of the 2023 harmonised elections if the trend remains the same.
According to statistics released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) recently, Bulawayo has the lowest number of registered voters with 254 630 followed by Matabeleland South with 259 689 registered voters and Matabeleland North standing at 335 851.
Speaking during a provincial coordinating committee (PCC) meeting in Gwanda yesterday, Zanu-PF Matabeleland South provincial chairman, Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu, said the party has the capacity to retain its seats in the province.
He, however, said more needs to be done to ensure that people register to vote.
“The country is going through three major activities which include the mobile registration exercise, which is being conducted by Civil Registry Department, the biometric voter registration exercise and the population and housing census.
“These are very important exercises and Matabeleland South province however, stands to lose between five to seven constituencies if the voter registration numbers don’t improve,” said Ndlovu.
“We are a stronghold of Zanu-PF and if we don’t take action now to correct the trend we are seeing, we would have let our party down.”
Ndlovu called on party members to encourage the masses to obtain birth certificates and national identity documents for them to be able to register to vote.
“The dispensation that we have been given by President Mnangagwa has relaxed the requirements for obtaining national identity documents. If we don’t take action to correct the trend of low voter registration, we would have let our President down,” he said.
“Let us therefore try as much as we can to save our constituencies in this province.”
Ndlovu said the ruling party has the responsibility to make sure that development initiatives are delivered to the people.
“President Mnangagwa has made sure that provinces have power through devolution. The party constitution confers adequate powers for us to monitor implementation of Government programmes and propose policies for implementation,” he said.