MDC-T’s BVR challenge hearing today

Justice Makarau

Justice Makarau

Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
MDC-T’s application challenging President Mugabe’s proclamation of biometric voter registration (BVR) dates is expected to be heard today in the High Court.

According to Proclamation No 6 of 2017, the BVR process runs from September 14 to January 15 next year.

In its application filed at the High Court on Tuesday last week under a certificate of urgency, MDC-T argues that President Mugabe should not have proclaimed voter registration dates before the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) procures Biometric-metric Voters Registration servers which store data.

In his affidavit, the opposition party secretary-general, Mr Douglas Mwonzora stated that ZEC informed a high-level political platform involving MDC-T and other political parties that 400 electoral biometric kits for training purposes had been procured.

According to the party, it was expected that a further 2 600 kits would be procured for the actual new voter registration process countrywide.

“The kits work with servers which are used to store biometric data gathered in the registration process,” said Mr Mwonzora. “There would be district servers and a national server.”

Mr Mwonzora further argued that there were concerns on the custody, location of servers, transmission of data from polling station to the district servers and national server and access of political parties to inspect the servers before information is stored and audit information stored on the servers.

“The date fixed to commence new voter registration is highly ambitious and untenable,” he said.

On Thursday last week, President Mugabe officially launched the BVR exercise at State House and became the first person to be registered under the new system that would be used in the creation of a new voters’ roll for the 2018 harmonised elections.

The President said he proclaimed the date for the commencement of voter registration on the advice of the ZEC.

He also applauded ZEC for coming up with a new voter registration system.

“As Government, we stand guided by our Constitution and ZEC on how elections are to be run in this country. “The Constitution of Zimbabwe enjoins Government to play a facilitative role in terms of resourcing and protecting the independence, impartiality, and integrity of such institutions,” the President said.

He urged all people aged 18 and above to go and register at centres that will be established. “The BVR exercise is a new registration for all citizens who are 18 years and above. I therefore urge all eligible Zimbabweans to go to their established centres to register in their numbers,” he said.

ZEC chairperson Justice Rita Makarau reiterated that the President’s proclamation setting dates for the commencement of the voter registration exercise was meant to give legal effect to the process.

She said voter registration would start in other districts countrywide today, following last week’s official launch.

ZEC has so far received 400 kits, some of which have been used to train the technicians that would be involved in the registration exercise.

Justice Makarau added that ZEC would conduct a national blitz to register all eligible voters once the remaining 2 600 kits are delivered.

She said the electoral body will publish the registration centres in due course, established in each ward.

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