THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) brought to a close the site validation tests for biometric voter registration (BVR) kits yesterday after taking the equipment through water and shock resistance tests at the commission’s head office.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
The kits from Laxton Group of Companies and Dermalog Identification Systems were dropped from 1,5 metres before being put under a torrent of water for 10 seconds to test their resistance.
After the drop and drenching, the two kits were then opened and operators were asked to begin using them to see if they had withstood the tests.
Kits supplied by Dermalog Identification Systems suffered a slight glitch but went back online after some time, while the Laxton Group of Companies kits were unaffected.
Zec also took the kits through time testing both on the number of voters registered per hour and per day, with the two companies running for the tender finishing just 30 minutes apart, where Laxton Group of Companies kits were faster.
In a brief statement after the tests, Zec chairperson, Rita Makarau said the commission would now receive recommendations from their evaluators and technical team, while observers were also expected to hand in their contributions by the end of day.
“The next stage will see evaluators and the technical team presenting their recommendations to the commission. Observers are also expected to forward their comments to the commission by close of business today (yesterday),” she said.
Makarau said Zec would make the final decision on which kit to purchase in terms of the provisions of the State Procurement Act.
She also noted that Zec had not changed from the tender specifications and selection, which was jointly flighted by the elections body and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
“A technical committee made up of UNDP and Zec evaluated the bids and came up with three companies that were invited for site validation tests. One of the three companies, Zetes from Belgium, withdrew from the process,” she said.
Dermalog Identification Systems, an experienced biometrics banking security systems manufacturer, is demanding nearly $5,5 million for its kits.
On the other hand, Laxton Group of Companies, which has an African footprint in elections management having supplied Tanzania, Malawi and Guinea with BVR kits, is demanding close to $4 million.
Zec needs a total of $50 million for the completion of the BVR and production of a new voters’ roll, which will be critical in the 2018 general elections to which government has committed $17 million.