Zimbabwe’s number of constituencies (electoral districts) will remain the same for next year’s elections due to financial constraints and government is bound to save at least USD 28million by avoiding the delimitation exercise.
Budget cuts have led to the country as a whole being treated as a single constituency in the referendum on the Constitution, which means that a person can vote at any polling station.
“There is no delimitation this time around,” Zimbabwe Electoral Commission acting chair Joice Kazembe told journalists at a news conference in Harare.
Government has reviewed ZEC’s budget for the referendum in both elections. The ZEC budget was USD $ 220 million for the two events, but has now been revised to the tune of USD $ 192 million.
Speaking to journalists in yesterday’s meeting attended by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Mrs Kazembe said:
“It was an urgent meeting towards preparations for the forthcoming referendum and elections. We are going to get funding, US$85 million for the referendum and US$107 million for elections. The budget has come down from US$105 for the referendum to US$85 million.”
Mrs Kazembe also revised electoral budget, down from $ 115 million to U.S. $ 107 million.
Justice Minister Minister Patrick Chinamasa said ZEC is in need of U.S. $ 21 million to finance the early stages of the referendum.
Minister Chinamasa said it was the responsibility of the Treasury to mobilize financial resources for the polls.
In the state budget in 2013, Finance Minister Tendai Biti set aside USD $ 50 million for the whole electoral process and the referendum. But this amount is not enough to meet the needs of the referendum itself.
“We agreed that we should start voter registration by the third of January (2013). We need US$21 million to start the referendum,” Minister Chinamasa said.
He however did not disclose the dates for the referendum, saying it depends on the completion of the constitution-making process.
Justice and Legal Affairs Deputy minister Obert Gutu, who also attended the meeting, the government was so broke people thought.
“Three-quarters of the funding will come from the Treasury,” he said. “This government is broke as people think.”
And will use about $ 1 million to import indelible ink to be used through the ballot box.
People have now been urged to return to update their records with the relevant offices responsible for the registration of voters.
Zimbabwe is bound to be conducting elections next year in March after the expiry of the Global Political Agreement that gave birth to the inclusive government with ZANU-PF and the two MDC formations.