THE opposition Free Zimbabwe Congress (FCZ) has expressed reservations about the biometric voter registration (BVR) system and urged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to revert to the manual voters’ roll in the upcoming general elections.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
Zec is currently finalising the new voters’ roll using data collected during the just-ended BVR exercise, but FZC leader, Joseph Makamba Busha said, while they welcomed the cleaning up of the voters’ roll through BVR, doubts still lingered on whether the new system would stop vote-rigging.
Busha cited examples of Kenya and other countries, where concerns were raised by the opposition parties over alleged rigging of the BVR processes.
“We don’t believe in the BVR, first, we want to challenge the BVR system. We believe we must stick to the old manual system of voting because these are watershed elections and we don’t know who is holding the critical data and BVR information.
“Also, we need a pilot project to make sure that it is accurate. It has been contested in the United States of America, it has been contested in Kenya, showing that this whole BVR system can easily be tampered with to rig elections,” Bosha told journalists in Bulawayo last week.
“However, the other issue is that we are in a new dispensation, we hope the elections will be free and fair and losing parties will accept the elections results.”
Zec has on several occasions tried to allay fears over the BVR system, saying all efforts had been made to ensure it is foolproof.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has also, on several occasions, promised to ensure elections would be free, fair and credible.
The Zimbabwe Democracy Institute report titled BVR, Zec and the Struggle Against Political Decay: A Light at the End of the Tunnel also raised questions with the BVR, saying “it should not be mistaken to be a solution to the Zimbabwean electoral problems”.
“It only brings a sense of security to the voters’ roll, but many other rigging tools are left untouched and at work. Like any other human-administered technology, the BVR will fall in exclusive hands of a decayed human factor, which is readily available for Zanu PF corruption.
“Moreover, technologies have their own systematic flip-flops and they thus deserve cautious consideration, scrutiny and suspicion too. Thus also presents Zanu PF and any authoritarian regime with chances to manipulate the vote too,” the report on BVR analysis read.