INHERENT mistrust of the Chinese might have negative effects on the upcoming biometric voter registration exercise, the opposition MDC-T party has said.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Party secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora was reacting to reports that Chinese firm Laxton Group Limited had won the tender to supply biometric voter registration kits to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).
The Chinese firm outbid Demalog Identification System of Germany.
“We (political parties) observed the assessment process and our recommendation was that the tender be awarded to Demalog Identification Systems of Germany. It appears the final decision was made by the State Procurement Board (SPB). It is a sinister plot by Zec, working in cahoots with Zanu PF, to scare away potential voters from registering,” Mwonzora said.
“There is so much distrust of the Chinese in our country, hence, the choice of a company from that country could lead to apathy. But we are urging our people to go out in their numbers to register as voters. It is the only way we can defeat this crooked system.”
Zec chairperson, Rita Makarau said the terms of the agreement were still being worked out.
“We are still negotiating the terms of the agreement and an announcement to the public on when registration will begin will be made,” she said yesterday.
On accusations that the Chinese company had been thrust on Zec by the SPB, Makarau said: “No comment! Please talk to the SPB.”
In a message to opposition supporters, Mwonzora said: “First, it is a clear directive from the SPB, which is appointed by the Zanu PF government. Secondly it is a perpetuation of the friendship between Zanu PF and the Communist Party of China.
“However, the main reason for this unmeritorious award is to discourage our people from voting in numbers, as this would signal the end of Zanu PF. Our plea is that we must convert the disadvantage into an advantage.
“We need to unite more than ever to protect our vote. No amount of thuggery, forgery, fraud or subterfuge can stop an idea whose hour has come.”
Zec initially announced voter registration would begin in May, but has since failed to meet the deadline.
Pressure has been mounting on the election management body to announce the winner of the controversial bid, with pro-democracy groups threatening court action amid fears the process was being manipulated.