Govt cornered over biometric voter registration

THE Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) has challenged the government to come up with a clear roadmap, giving specific timelines for commencement of the biometric voter registration (BVR) process to safeguard next year’s general elections.

By KHANYILE MLOTSHWA

In a statement, yesterday Zesn said: “Given that the 2017 budgetary allocations for Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) fell far short of expectations and in the absence of clarity from the government on when the (BVR) kits will be procured, there are fears that the whole voter registration process might be seriously delayed, thereby, affecting preparations for the 2018 Harmonised elections.”

Zesn said it still firmly believed that the procurement of the BVR kits “is a crucial exercise that must be given adequate time, transparency and openness to scrutiny by all electoral stakeholders in order to instil trust and confidence and safeguard against the disenfranchisement of any potential voters.”

“The lack of publicity around the sourcing of funds for key electoral processes such as voter education and voter registration will only serve to perpetuate uncertainties around the whole electoral process in Zimbabwe,” the statement read in part.

“It is imperative that Zec, in its timelines, indicates the manner of engagement the commission will have with the technical partners especially in the rolling out of the BVR exercise.

“In addition, Zesn calls for consultations with political parties and other electoral stakeholders to ensure that the process is transparent and inclusive.”

The electoral watchdog said it was important that the whole process of procuring the BVR kits, including the selection of the vendor to supply the kits, be subjected to public scrutiny.

“Moreover, the selection process of the BVR kits vendor either by the government or Zec must be subjected to public observation and scrutiny to enhance trust and confidence in the process,” Zesn said.

“The tender process must adhere to regional and international standards to uphold integrity, credibility, openness, transparency and inclusiveness.”

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