BVR kits: UN quashes MDC-T rigging claims •praises ZEC transparency •Ongoing validation tests hailed

Mr Bishow Parajuli

Mr Bishow Parajuli

Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter—
CONTRARY to MDC-T’s wild claims that Government’s procurement of Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits was Zanu-PF’s way of trying to rig the 2018 harmonised elections, the United Nations has expressed satisfaction with the transparency surrounding the exercise. UNDP Resident Coordinator Mr Bishow Parajuli yesterday commended the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) for the manner it had so far carried out site validation tests for two firms bidding to supply BVR kits.

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The tests began last Thursday, while mock registration exercises were held at Mabvuku High School on Monday and Murape Secondary School yesterday.

An unnamed MDC-T official was yesterday quoted in the private media claiming that the party had “unearthed an elaborate rigging programme” around the procurement of BVR kits, with specific reference to computer servers.

“What I am very pleased with is that all stakeholders are involved. It is being done in a transparent manner.
“There are a lot of political parties, technical experts are here, the media (are here) and ZEC staff, that is good.

“What we need to understand is that this is just testing of the equipment. It is mock voter registration process and it is an important step in choosing the right equipment,” he said.

Mr Parajuli welcomed Government’s commitment in contributing funds for the procurement of the equipment.

Government has provided at least $17 million for the exercise, while development partners have provided $7 million through UNDP.
“UNDP will continue to work with ZEC and what is key is that as we move forward is for everybody engaging in this to continue in a transparent and peaceful manner.

“Our role is purely technical support to ZEC. We are helping strengthening the capacity of ZEC,” Mr Parajuli said.
Two companies are bidding to supply ZEC with the BVR kits.

They are Laxton Group Limited from China and Dermalog Identification Systems from Germany.
The process continues today with the shock and water proof tests for the BVR kits and later the gathering of results.

The evaluation team is expected to hand over its report to ZEC tomorrow and the commission is in turn expected to present the report to the State Procurement Board on Friday.

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