Source: Zec slammed as BVR confusion rages on – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 4, 2017
OPPOSITION parties and civil society groups have raised alarm over the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)’s handling of the biometric voter registration (BVR) kit acquisition.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Last week, Zec chairperson Rita Makarau made an undertaking that the commission would soon go for another tender for the procurement of a central system to store data. But at the weekend State media quoted Makarau saying Zec already had a central data storage system that “only needs upgrading”.
Laxton Group of Companies won the tender to supply the BVR kits. The company has, however, expressed reservations on Zec’s capacity to store data and critical information that could be used against the country “if it lands in the wrong hands”.
Civil society organisations and opposition parties yesterday raised the red-flag, expressing concern over the way Zec has handled the issue.
“Rita Makarau informed Zimbabweans that Zec would purchase a separate central system from a company other than the Laxton Group. Now Zec has backtracked again and are now saying there is no second tender process to purchase the central system. In fact, Zec now claims they already have a central system and will use what they already have,”
Concerned Citizens of Zimbabwe Support Network (CCSNZ) said in a statement yesterday.
“So, what is really going on? Why does Zec keep changing the goalposts? What is the truth? Is Nikuv now at play?
There are so many questions and very few clear answers. What is very clear is Zec’s lack of transparency.”
The group argued the lack of transparency pointed to a plot to tamper with the coming elections and possible rigging.
“Lack of transparency likely means there will be no free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. An organisation that runs elections must be able to do so without complicating the process. Zec has done more to complicate the process than to simplify it,” the statement said.
CCSNZ urged citizens to be wary and prepare to defend their votes if need be.
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said they were tightening screws on each and every move that Zec was making on the BVR issue.
“We have got our eyes firmly on the ball. Of course, we are acutely aware that there is a hidden hand that is relentlessly seeking to manipulate Zec and ensure that the 2018 elections are rigged. However, this time around, we will not allow this hidden hand to steal the people’s vote. Our level of diligence and awareness is extremely high,” Gutu said.
People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume said it was time to call for transparency.
“Alarm bells have rung in our heads as the opposition and we are watching Zec closely on this one. Whatever they are doing must stand the scrutiny of the law and public accountability,” he said.