NU PF has expressed concern over the rapid growth of urban settlements fuelled partly by land barons who sell state land to desperate home seekers and pocket the proceeds.
The ruling party’s lands and resettlement department carried out a survey which established that there are slightly more than 256 new housing settlements in Harare metropolitan province. What worries ZANU PF is that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) delimitation exercise could increase the number of constituencies in urban areas, which are perceived to be opposition strongholds.
There are reportedly 4 million new housing stands outside the original suburbs. The ZANU PF central committee report reads:
“It was determined from the survey that the huge number of opposition members that bought stands in these new housing settlements, might end up making it possible for the creation of new urban constituencies, especially here in Metropolitan Harare province, where the opposition is strongest, resulting in losses in rural constituencies, where the (ZANU PF) party is strongest. That phenomenon might end up prejudicing the party in its strongholds.”
According to ZEC, Harare Metropolitan Province has the highest number of registered voters, while Matabeleland South has the least. Zimbabwe Election Advocacy Trust director Ignatius Sadziwa told NewsDay that it is inevitable that the number of constituencies in Harare will be increased. He said:
“Figures don’t lie. Harare will likely have four or five more constituencies using the benchmark figure of 26 000 voters per constituency.”
Moses Chibaya, a political commentator, said Epworth and Harare South should have more constituencies. He said:
“In Harare, we have areas like Epworth and Harare South which have tripled their voting population over the past decade. It is only logical to increase constituencies in those areas.”
Harare metropolitan alone has 952 520 registered voters followed by Midlands.