HomeLocal NewsGovt commitment to biometric voters’ roll questionable – Zesn

Govt commitment to biometric voters’ roll questionable – Zesn

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THE Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) has cast aspersions over government’s commitment to implement the biometric voters’ roll (BVR) system, given its reluctance to finance the programme.

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Zesn, in a statement yesterday, said it was concerned that the government was yet to provide its financial allotment to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).

“Zesn has learnt with concern that government has not yet provided its share of financial support apart from the $9,8 million allocated to the commission (Zec) by Treasury end of 2016 against a total budget requirement of $50 million for the BVR process alone,” Zesn said.

The government, according to Zesn, pledged $17 million while development partners, through the United Nations Development Programme, pledged the balance.

The lobby group, which has been agitating for a level political playfield in Zimbabwe, said government’s budgetary allocations had, thus far, been woefully inadequate.

“In the 2016 National Budget, the government allocated a paltry $8,3 million to Zec, which was far short of the $29 million that the commission had requested to enable it to acquire vehicles for the voter registration exercise.
Zesn is concerned by the government’s lack of financial commitment to Zec’s requests.

“Zec has always faced perennial financial constraints and this is extremely worrying. We have noted from our recent observation of by-elections that a number of electoral processes are being undertaken with inadequate funding and voter education programmes are one of those processes that have been seriously affected,” Zesn director, Rindai Chipfunde-Vava, said.

Zesn urged the government to ensure that Zec is sufficiently and timeously resourced with technical, financial and human resources.

“Zesn, therefore, calls upon the government to seriously commit to this process which commenced last year with the mapping exercise,” Chipfunde-Vava said.

Authorities have already flighted tenders inviting potential local and international companies to supply BVR kits, an indication the next elections would be held under the new system.

Zimbabwe will hold general elections next year and Zesn said Zec and government must ensure the transparency of the electoral process beginning with educating the public on the BVR exercise as well as allowing observation of the whole process from the acquisition of the kits.

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