Zec sets BVR deadline

Kuda Bwititi Chief Reporter
The biometric voter registration (BVR) kit supplier for the 2018 harmonised elections will be known on March 20, 2017 in keeping with a Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s roadmap for the polls. The supplier will be picked from three companies shortlisted from an initial list of 12 comprising Zimbabwean, Belgian, Canadian and Israeli firms.
The BVR system will capture prospective voters’ biometric data such as fingerprints and photographs to eliminate voter duplication and remove deceased people’s names from the voters’ rolls.
Government and the United Nations Development Programme will jointly purchase the US$30 million equipment, marking the first time Zimbabwe will use such technology.
Many countries have adopted the innovation, which engenders greater transparency and minimises the possibility of electoral disputes.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail last week, ZEC Chairperson Justice Rita Makarau said the State Procurement Board would assist with adjudication.
“We are in the process of procuring BVR kits, and have set the 20th of March for site validation tests after the three top bidders have shown us what they have. The process of site validation means that we want the companies to do the tests locally and demonstrate how the equipment will be used so that we have a practical test of how the process will be conducted.
“The names of the three companies will be made public once they have confirmed their coming to Zimbabwe to undergo the evaluation process,” she said.
Justice Makarau said polling station demarcation could be extended to accommodate areas that have become inaccessible due to flooding, and ZEC now expected to complete the mapping process in the first week of April instead of the end of March.
“However, the mapping delays will not affect our deadlines and plan to start voter registration by the end of March or the beginning of May. We are still working with that timeframe in mind,” she added.
ZEC is working with July 31, 2018 as the deadline by which harmonised elections must be held, and it plans to wrap up major logistics this year.
Between 800 and 1 500 voters will be assigned to a particular polling station within their ward.

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