Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) chairperson Justice Esau Chulu has launched the 2019 nationwide Delimitation Exercise aimed at mapping and realigning electoral boundaries for easy access by voters in readiness for the 2021 general elections.

Speaking at the official launch of the Delimitation Roadmap at Pamodzi Hotel in Lusaka, Thursday, Justice Chulu said the exercise was scheduled to commence on Monday, July 8, and would be held at all the 116 districts and provinces nationwide.

Justice Chulu explained that the exercise would be undertaken to address factors, such as increase in population, the long distances that voters cover to access electoral services, developmental, and new settlement patterns.

“The Commission is scheduled to undertake delimitation of constituencies, wards and polling districts from July to November, 2019. The Delimitation Exercise will involve engaging various stakeholders to review the existing electoral boundaries. In addition to the creation and renaming of constituencies, wards and polling districts, the process will also involve establishing new polling stations where necessary. During the conduct of the Delimitation Exercise, several factors are taken into consideration, which include: an increase in population, the long distances that voters cover to access electoral services, developmental and new settlement patterns,” said Justice Chulu.

“You may be aware that more than 30 districts across the country have been created in the last eight years, thereby, increasing the total number of districts to 116. This development has resulted in the revision of some of the district boundaries to pave way for the new districts. There is, therefore, need to adjust electoral boundaries 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. This exercise will entail appropriate amendments to the relevant legislation and issuance of statutory instruments. The Delimitation Exercise, which begins on Monday 8th July, 2019, is a nationwide exercise that will be undertaken in all provinces and districts throughout the country. During the district and provincial sitting, the Commission will receive submissions from members of the public and all stakeholders.”

And ECZ director of electoral operations Emma Mwiinga said the outcomes of the Delimitation Exercise would only be effected in the 2021 general elections, adding that any by-election that would be held between now and the next election would use the current voter register.

She said during the district sittings, the Commission would receive both oral and written submissions on how the boundaries would be demarcated.

Mwiinga further explained that the country currently had a total of 116 districts, 156 constituencies, 1,624 wards, and 7,700 polling centres.