The proposition by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to introduce Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) is an important and welcome development. It will be a major transformation in the conduct of elections in Zimbabwe, which for a long time have been seriously affected by inefficiency, inaccuracy, unreliability and unfairness, all of which have undermined their credibility. In adopting BVR, Zimbabwe will join a growing and progressive trend across the continent and around the world.
BVR systems are based on biometrics — a science which uses human biological features for purposes of identifying or authenticating the identity of an individual.
The finger print is the most common biometric feature but other could be the eyes, facial image or the voice, all of which are unique to the individual.
The use of the BVR system will mean the capturing of a particular biometric feature, e.g. the finger print or facial image of every voter, storing it in an automated system, and when the individual attends on polling day, he or she will be identified by their finger print or facial image.