Maxwell Sibanda 11 May 2017
HARARE – The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) is likely to use the
discredited 2013 voter register in next year’s election, as the Biometric
Voter Registration (BVR) process will not be completed in time, analysts
They argued that the BVR system requires careful planning, preparation and
implementation, making the whole process time consuming.
There is also need for an inclusive and comprehensive voter education to
demystify some of the questions around introduction of the new technology.
Also, and crucially, Zec is yet to announce the company that will supply
the BVR kits.
Electoral issues expert Vivid Gwede said “there has been significant
delays already in terms of bringing in the BVR process, especially
considering that it is a new thing that people must amply familiarise
“It is not certain that the current timelines, as delayed as they are,
will even be met,” he said, adding “that alone has a risk of plunging the
forthcoming election into rather a foreseeable dispute”.
Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) director Rindai Chipfunde-Vava
said any new electoral change and in particular, a technology-based system
such as BVR, should be rolled out well in advance of the election to
enable the electorate enough time to familiarise and accept the process.
“Given the lack of clarity in the BVR process and the delays, there is
real possibility of reverting to the 2013 framework which, of course,
casts doubt on transparency and ultimately the legitimacy of the electoral
process,” she said.
“Regarding the legal aspects”, she said, “as we pointed out the draft BVR
regulations as presently formulated does not compel Zec to deploy BVR”.
“So the loose wording in the regulations is problematic in that regard.
There is need to make it clear that Zec is discarding the old towards a
new BVR system,” Chipfunde-Vava said.
MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu added that they hoped the BVR roll out will
proceed expeditiously and in a very transparent and credible manner.
“The long and short of it is that Zimbabwe needs a clean and legitimate
national voters’ roll in time for next year’s elections. The fiasco of
2013 shouldn’t be repeated,” he said.
“In 2013, the national voters’ roll was a complete shambles and as a
result, the election was stolen by Zanu PF through the massive use of
voter registration slips, among other rigging tactics,” Gutu said.
“Put bluntly, without a credible and clean voters’ roll, there will be
completely no point in holding elections next year,” he said.