Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Rita Makarau has said they may consider extending the biometric voter registration exercise should the need arise.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
In a recent interview, Makarau said Zec would assess the situation after the final phase of the registration blitz on December 19.
“We may extend the registration period,” she said.
“Remember, we gave ourselves a deadline of December 19, where the fourth phase is supposed to end, but in terms of proclamation His Excellency (President Emmerson Mnangagwa) said we would go up to January 15, but we thought by December 19 we would have completed the exercise.”
Zec is preparing a new biometric voter’s roll following concerns by political players that the previous register was in a shambolic state and prone to manipulation.
Makarau said in the first two phases, they managed to register about three million people.
She said if they record a low turnout, then they might be forced to reconsider and redo voter registration in areas they recorded low numbers.
“Depending on the figures we get, we may need to come up with a mop-up exercise to capture all the communities that we may have left out,” Makarau said, adding if the turnout was satisfactory, they would keep registration open until elections, but they would not necessarily conduct a mop-up exercise.
Independent electoral watchdogs have expressed concern at the low number of people registering to vote.
Turning to the acquisition of the automated fingerprint identification system (Afis) that is used to clean the voters’ roll to remove multiple registrations, Makarau said the onus was on the State Procurement Board (SPB) to advise them on the company to engage.
She, however, said they were still within time for the procurement.
“The procurement is being handled by the SPB and they are the ones to tell us which supplier to go into a contract with.
“So far, they haven’t told us anything.
“We are not running out of time.
“We are very much still within time, remember the Afis will come into play after we have collected all the data from all the potential registrants and at the moment we are still at the third phase and we still have another phase to go,” Makarau said.