Source: Zec to adopt biometric voting for 2018 – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 11, 2016
ZIMBABWE Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Justice Rita Makarau yesterday said the poll management body was committed to running the 2018 elections under a biometric voters’ roll to curb cases of double voting.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of an all-stakeholders meeting in Harare, Makarau said Zec required about $55 million to implement the new system.
“We are committed to running a credible election in 2018 and I can categorically state that resources being available, we will use biometric voter registration in the coming elections. We have tentative costs of about $55 million to implement this and we would want to go the whole way and are saying to government, allow us to go full biometric,” she said.
The Zec chairperson said she had already communicated with government and the response had been favourable.
United Nations Development Programme country representative in Harare Bishow Parajuli said his organisation had been working with Zec since last year “with incremental steps in a number of areas of capacity building”.
“We are planning in the second stage, a significant support in the areas of voter registration, voter education and strengthening of further institutional capacity for Zec,” Parajuli said, adding they were targeting voter registration among other areas, but needed support from other development partners.
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu welcomed the Zec move.
“We are aware that it is unlikely that this broke government will be able to fund the process and it has rejected funding from non-governmental organisations, but we hope they will be happy with assistance from the UNDP. We have never demanded a perfect election, but we are sure with political will, Zimbabwe can run a poll that passes the credibility test,” Gutu said.
People’s Democratic Party elections secretary Settlement Chikwinya also welcomed Zec’s commitment, but urged the electoral body to continue engaging all stakeholders ahead of the elections.
“We must continue to engage and consult. Zec must desist from this situation in which they call us and brief us on decisions they would have already made,” Chikwinya said, adding the issue of Zec’s secretariat remained a sticking point.
But opposition Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe leader Elton Mangoma said instead of adopting the biometric voting system, Zec should just allow the electorate to use ordinary identity cards for the 2018 elections.
“The current system is about exclusion rather than inclusion. We are of the belief that we should use the least complicated option and allow people to be registered on voting day using their identity cards,” Mangoma said.