MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora has come under fire from other opposition parties who accused him of allegedly prematurely endorsing the biometric voter registration (BVR) validation process before completion of the exercise.
By XOLISANI NCUBE
In a message posted on his Facebook wall on Saturday, Mwonzora suggested that the validation exercise of the BVR kits was fair and credible, but hinted that more needs to be done.
“While the validation process was fairly credible, the political parties’ technical team observed that there were a lot of issues which deal with the security of the data after the registration process,” he said.
His remarks drew fire from other opposition parties affiliated to the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) who accused him of making a rushed conclusion which could be manipulated by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to award the BVR kits supply tender to an undeserving bidder.
“His [Mwonzora] endorsement of the validation exercise gives an impression that he is supporting the two companies shortlisted to supply the BVR kits. It’s wrong,” a senior Nera member who requested anonymity said.
“What ought to have happened and what we generally expect is that, let the process be subjected to a thorough scrutiny so that when the tender awarding process starts, all the competing firms would have proved their worth and that their systems are watertight.”
But, Mwonzora denied claims that he had endorsed the process.
“I am not endorsing anything, I am just saying that from the look of things, the validation process was credible, but that does not change or do away with our quest for a transparent process. The real battle has just begun and that is ensuring a credible and more trustworthy firm gets the tender,” he said.
“So those who are saying I am endorsing the process must differentiate the BVR validation process and the entire process which is more complicated.”
Zec has shortlisted two international firms — Germany-based Dermalog Identification Systems and Laxton Group Limited from China — to slug it out for the supply of BVR kits through field trial runs.
After the site validation process, the winning bidder will then be awarded the tender to supply about 2 500 BVR kits to create a biometric voters’ roll ahead of the 2018 elections