THE European Union (EU) has hailed the biometric voter registration (BVR) system currently being rolled out in the country’s 63 districts by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), describing the system as the best option for the country, which has since independence, produced disputed election results due to alleged manipulation of the voters’ roll by the ruling
BY Tatenda Chitagu
EU head of delegation to Zimbabwe, Philippe van Damme, told Southern Eye during a tour of EU-funded drought relief projects in Mberengwa on Wednesday that despite the technical and logistical glitches experienced since the launch of the exercise on Monday, BVR was the best option for the country.
“I do not comment on politics, but I am observing and the EU is supporting the process,” he said.
“BVR will allow the people to register in the new voters’ roll.
“We know the old voters’ roll has been challenged not only by the opposition, but by civic society. It is good to have a new voters’ roll. It will filter out ghost voters and usher in a new system.”
Van Damme urged all potential voters to register.
“It is important to register all sections of society, be it the women, men and youth,” he said.
Asked if he predicted that the BVR would lead to a free, fair and credible poll, Van Damme quipped: “I do not want to speculate.”
The voter registration exercise has been marred by glitches and got off to a false start in Masvingo after some residents failed to register, as their wards did not appear in the Zec records.
In some parts of Matabeleland, some potential voters claimed it took them longer than necessary to have their fingerprints registered in the BVR scanners.
Van Damme said it was critical for the country to have a new voters’ roll ahead of next year’s crunch polls.
He said despite the once frosty relations with Harare, the EU had continued to support the country.
“We never suspended our humanitarian aid and outreach to the people,” Van Damme said.
“The people should not suffer; they should not be victims.
“We re-engaged the government. We never stopped to help Zimbabwe or suspended our outreach programmes.
“We supported the government implement economic reforms and the Constitution.”