THE Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC), has abolished four constituencies ahead of the October- scheduled general elections, which are likely to attract over 530,000 voters.
ZEC Chairman Retired Chief Justice (CJ), Hamid Mahmoud Hamid told reporters here that Unguja and Pemba Islands will have 32 and 18 constituencies, respectively.
And, according to the raw data from the recent voter registration and verification, 535,735 Zanzibaris are eligible to vote.
The ZEC chairman said the latest changes haven’t affected the opposition’s Pemba stronghold, which had 18 constituencies out of the total 54 in the 2015 polls.
Retired CJ Hamid said the boundary and constituency modifications considered the stakeholders’ complaints over the increase of electoral areas from 50 to 54 during the 2015 General Election.
“...Electoral stakeholders had complained over the huge differences in the number of voters among constituencies, ZEC also took into account the population growth rate in various areas,” the commission’s chairman said.
ZEC further considered the main transport routes in constituencies and administrative boundaries to address likely confusions to wananchi in the electoral areas.
Under the new changes, Urban West will have 19 constituencies, with its three districts— Urban, West A and West B having nine, five and five, respectively, while North Unguja region’s North A and North B districts will have five and three constituencies, respectively.
The Central and South Districts in South Unguja Region will have three and two constituencies, respectively, the chairman said.
North Pemba Region has five constituencies in Wete District and four in Micheweni while South Pemba’s Chake Chake and Mkoani districts have five and four, respectively.
The cancelled constituencies (districts in brackets) are Mahonda (North B), Mtopepo (West A), Kijitoupele and Chukwani (West B) while Mgogoni constituency in Wete District has been renamed Pandani.
The ZEC chairman warned individuals, whom he accused of unlawfully trying to guess the general election day, saying: “Issuance of any declaration on the election day in Zanzibar before the commission’s announcement is a criminal offence.”
He said so far, ZEC is not in the position to declare the Election Day because the day for the dissolution of the House of Representatives is not yet known.
“...this is because when Zanzibar President addressed the House of Representatives on June 20, 2020 he said he will announce the date in the government gazette...as of today, the announcement has not been issued,” he elaborated.
According to the Zanzibar Election Act, ZEC has to announce the general election day within 60 to 90 days after the dissolution of the House of Representatives.