Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) will from today start site validation tests for two companies bidding to supply Biometric Voter Registration kits ahead of next year’s harmonised elections.
Laxton Group Limited from China and Dermalog Identification Systems from Germany were among three firms whose bids were successful from the initial 12 that tendered for the supply of the kits.
The other successful company, ZETES from Belgium, withdrew.
- Editorial Comment: BVR, a luxury we cannot afford
- ‘ZEC controls voting material’
- BVR kits challenge deemed ‘not urgent’
- Nothing amiss in Govt’s BVR funding: UNDP
- More thumbs down for biometric voting
“The bidders were evaluated by a joint team of ZEC and UNDP representatives and three of them emerged as the best contenders,” said ZEC chairperson Justice Rita Makarau in a briefing to observers yesterday.
“The selection criteria were based on technical compliance of the gadgets to required specifications based on technical compliance of the gadgets to required specifications and pricing.”
Justice Makarau said at the close of the tender on January 17, 51 companies had shown interest, although only 12 submitted their bids.
“This is the stage at which we are now and the process is still under way,” she said.
“Our invitation to you to observe this important stage is part of ZEC’s initiative to ensure stakeholder participation in its activities and to enhance transparency in all its electoral processes.
“You will, therefore, be able to witness presentations by the two bidders who have come forward and observe the site validation tests of their respective kits to assess whether or not they are fit for the purpose.
“The actual site validation process starts tomorrow, (today) 21 April 2017 and ends on 26 April.”
Justice Makarau said the observers would be expected to make written recommendations to ZEC after the tests to assist it in making a decision on the award of the tender.
“Each bidder has three kits,” she said. “This ensures that there is adequate back-up in case the other two suffer malfunction. “The tests shall be in two forms, namely laboratory and field tests.
“During the laboratory tests, conformity to supplied specifications, which include those of the laptop, webcam, light source, photo background material, fingerprint scanner, thermal printer and solar power kit, among others, will be under scrutiny.
“The field tests will inter alia involve testing the durability of the equipment, resistance to weather elements, processing speed, battery performance, efficiency of the webcam, lighting and fingerprint scanner.”
Justice Makarau said the field tests would be conducted at Mabvuku High School on Monday next week and at Murape Secondary School in Seke the following day.
The two schools will provide 150 students each for a mock BVR exercise, while shock and water proof tests would be conducted at ZEC headquarters in Harare on Wednesday next week.
Government provided the $17 million required for the procurement of the BVR kits.