‘Zec must lift restrictions on observers’

Source: ‘Zec must lift restrictions on observers’ – DailyNews Live

STAFF WRITER      22 April 2017

HARARE – The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) must lift restrictions on
observers to allow effective participation in the site validation test of
Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits, the Election Resource Centre
(ERC) said yesterday.

This comes after Zec laid out strict conditions for those accredited to
observe the BVR kits site validation tests.

Briefing the media in Harare on Wednesday, the commission’s chairperson
Rita Makarau said the observers – political parties and civil society
organisations – were not allowed to ask any questions or interview bidders
and assessors.

ERC said Zec must seriously respect the principle of transparency.

“Zec must open up space for the electorate, civil society, political
parties, media and development agencies . . . this will not only rekindle
the fledgling spirit of engagement through continued creation of platforms
for engagement with key stakeholders, but will go a long way in enhancing
transparency, inclusivity and integrity of the electoral processes,” the
lobby group said in a statement.

“Zec is hereby urged to put in place mechanisms that allow effective
participation and engagement of all electoral stakeholders. Electoral
stakeholders must constantly be consulted and be informed about all
electoral processes in line with Section 239 of the Constitution of
Zimbabwe which provides that `Zec must ensure that elections are conducted
efficiently, freely, fairly, transparently and in accordance with the
law’,” the ERC said in a statement.

Two companies will make presentations and test their kits in laboratories
and in the field, during the five-day process.

The bidders are Chinese firm Laxton Group Limited and Dermalog
Identification Systems from Germany.

Another shortlisted bidder, ZETES from Belgium, withdrew for unknown

According to Makarau, the tests must conform with supplied specifications
which include having a laptop, webcam, light source, photo background
material, fingerprint scanner, thermal printer and solar power kit among
others will be under scrutiny.

The field tests will be conducted on April 24, in Harare in Seke on April
25. The field tests will see 150 pupils from each school below 18
participate in a mock BVR exercise. Shock and waterproof tests will also
be conducted.