ELECTORAL Commission of Zambia chairperson Justice Esau Chulu says delimitation is an important exercise as it is a basis for voter registration, promoting effective citizens representation and making electoral services more accessible to the people. During the delimitation briefing of district electoral officers and district planning officers, justice Chulu said the Commission had a mandate to divide the country into constituencies, wards and polling districts for purposes of elections.
He said the law provides that delimitation be conducted at intervals of not more than 10 years.
“You may recall that the Commission conducted reviews of constituency boundaries in 2010 and later in 2014 which resulted in an increase in the number of wards from 1,422 to 1,618 wards and from 6,456 to 7,700 polling districts nationwide,” he said. “Further, the Constitutional Amendment of 2016 increased the number of constituencies from 150 to the current 156. Delimitation is an important exercise as it is a basis for voter registration, promoting effective citizens representation and making electoral services more accessible to the people.”
He said this year, the commission was yet again scheduled to undertake a delimitation of constituencies, wards and polling districts from June to November 2019. Justice Chulu said the exercise would involve the creation and renaming of constituencies, wards and polling districts, thereby establishing new polling stations where necessary.
“This exercise has been necessitated by several factors among which includes; an increase in population, the long distances that voters cover to access electoral services, developmental and new settlement patterns. In addition, the Republican President has established and created more than 30 districts across the country in the past eight years, thereby increasing the national total number of districts to one hundred and sixteen (116),” he said.
Justice Chulu said this development had resulted in the revision of some boundaries to pave way for new districts.
“As such, the need to adjust electoral boundaries is a priority to ensure that all the new districts have at least one constituency and also to realign the boundaries of wards and constituencies that may have been affected by the creation of the new districts. Further, it has come to the attention of the Commission that some polling stations are located in places not convenient for conducting elections. As such, the delimitation exercise will also involve re-location of polling stations to more suitable and conducive venues,” said justice Chulu.