By David Hofisi| When the Delimitation Report was released, it was roundly condemned by political players, civil society, the parliamentary ad hoc committee, even 7 of ZEC’s own commissioners, including the daughter of former VP Kembo Mohadi, refused to sign off on the preliminary report
After receiving the report of the ad hoc committee of Parliament, ZEC committed to addressing the concerns with the important caveat that it would compile a report for the President outlining why some recommendations were acceded to and others were not
Was the 3 February event a submission of the Final Report, or a compilation of the rationale for ZEC’s approach…or both? This is not a question of law – it is a question of fact contingent on authoritative testimony by the relevant parties
Ergo: ZEC must believe it submitted the Final Report, which the President does not gazette, to support claims of that 161(11) was breached. This authoritative statement is vital. If the Pres believes he is yet to receive the report, claims of a breach become even weaker
S.161 is dialogic. ZEC, led by a judge, coordinates with the executive & legislature before producing a final report. It implicates other arms of stated. The fact that ZEC gets the FINAL word does not mean that, after the constitutional processes, it gets the ONLY word.
Since ZEC was attacked for allegedly producing a ‘shoddy’ document, one would presume the response to their handling of parliamentary & presidential feedback to be that of greater scrutiny since the preliminary report was subject of bipartisan condemnation.
Instead, there’s been a radical turnaround, w newfound confidence in, & deference towards, the same body whose preliminary report resulted in accusations of rigging gerrymandering, malapportionment and misinterpretation of the Constitution.
In other words, the calls for immediate gazzeting are not informed by satisfaction regarding the delimitation process or the report thereof, but a rigid interpretation of procedural requirements which Lord Wilberforce called the austerity of tabulated legalism.
ZEC’s approach is to address concerns. Its up to Zimbabweans to decide if they will likely get a free & fair election from a substantive process addressing concerns, or an insistence for immediate gazzeting before we have a clear sense of whether a final report was submitted.
The timeline in the Const. is for gazetting, not for ZEC to complete the work of addressing concerns. There’s a reason for that leeway. It is not readily apparent whether accelerating that timeline is the way to secure a more acceptable report and credible election