Zimbabwe awaiting delivery of biometric voter registration kits for elections

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BY NHLALO NDABA

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) intends to register seven million voters for the country’s first biometric-system-supported general elections due to be held next year.

Chinese owned Laxon Group of Companies‚ whose African office is located in Edenvale in Gauteng‚ won the R50 million (US$3‚9m) tender to supply biometric voter registration (BVR) kits. After paying half that amount‚ ZEC awaits delivery.

“… 50% deposit has now been paid. We are now holding very serious conversations with the supplier to find out when they will make the first delivery‚” said ZEC chairperson‚ Rita Makarau during a media briefing.

The ZEC intends to finish voter registration within two to three months but analysts suspect the electoral body is using delaying tactics to avoid using the BVR system.

“We are likely not going to have BVR by 2018. The voters’ roll remains a secret. ZEC is delaying the process on purpose‚” said political commentator Dr Alex Magaisa during an election support seminar in Harare.

The opposition fears that the ZEC is being influenced by the ruling party Zanu PF to disadvantage the urban electorate where the opposition command a huge following.

“ZEC wants to manipulate voters’ registration by starving areas that are perceived to be opposition strongholds‚ such as urban centres. A voters’ registration process should be transparent and inclusive‚ yet that is not what is happening‚” MDC-T’s secretary for elections‚ Murisi Zwizwai‚ told a leading daily last month.

But independent presidential aspirant Dr Nkosana Moyo believes the ZEC has no capacity to sway the vote. Instead‚ voter apathy is the problem.

“Only 43 percent of eligible voters in this country vote‚” he said.

President Robert Mugabe is yet to announce when the elections will be held but according to the constitution‚ it has to be on or before 21 August 2018.

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