Makarau Snubs Biometric Voting System Stakeholders' Meeting – ZimEye – Zimbabwe News

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Shyleen Mtandwa | The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) boss, Rita Makarau, has  snubbed a stakeholders meeting which was organized by civil society organisations to discuss the Biometric Voter Registration process (BVR).

The issue of BVR is highly topical with citizens wanting to know how the new voting system works.

Government announced that the country was going to adopt the new voting system in the next elections in 2018 with most political parties agreeing that the BVR was the way to go if the country was to hold an uncontested election.

Biometric voting involves the use of computerized identification documents such as finger prints, Passports, National Identity Card or driver’s license when casting the ballot.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) had offered to fund the procurement of   BVR equipment  after consulting with the ZEC and opposition political parties, but surprisingly government rejected the offer and instead demanded that the administration was better positioned to procure the equipment.

At the weekend, civil society organizations had invited Makarau, to interface with them and answer several questions pertaining to the new voting system but none of the electoral body’s officials turned up.

“We want to inform you that ZEC which we had invited to be with us tonight has sent us some apologies saying that they were committed somewhere and we could not be with them here,” the meeting convener, Dr Charlton Tsodzo, told the meeting at a local hotel.

Last week the state controlled daily, The Herald, which usually spells out government policy and position, ran a story which was dismissing the adoption of BVR.

The news paper said BVR was expensive and the country had better priorities than opting to the process.

ZEC has requested $29 million for BVR, including procurement of the kits the funding which UNDP said was willing to provide.