More thumbs down for biometric voting

Elton Mangoma

Elton Mangoma

Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter—
Opposition political parties have added their voice to growing calls for the abandonment of biometric voter registration (BVR) amid concerns the system could be prone to manipulation by hostile nations and untenable due to the country’s low Internet penetration. Lawyers and academics were the first to raise the red flag over the implementation of BVR last week, saying electronic voting could create challenges that may be used to discredit the electoral process.

Opposition parties share similar sentiments.

Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe (RDZ) leader Mr Elton Mangoma called for the abandonment of the process.

Read more:

In a statement, Mr Mangoma said: “The Constitution of Zimbabwe is never ambiguous on the right to vote by all citizens.
“Procuring electronic gadgets of unknown origins and tendencies to screen people for voting is tantamount to taking away their constitutional rights.”

RDZ reaffirmed the call for the use of national identity cards to vote.
This, according to Mr Mangoma, was much easier and less expensive.

“The only way out is the simple and manageable “munhu-nechitupa-chake formula” considering the time left before next year’s elections,” said RDZ’s statement.

“There are over a million people who are not registered and there will also be need to verify the results. Therefore, Munhu-nechitupa-chake is the way to go.”

Zimbabwe People First founder Mr Rugare Gumbo echoed the same sentiments saying Zimbabwe was not yet ready for such an expensive process which requires high levels of internet penetration.

He said given the country’s financial status, it was plausible to use the old route of manual registration and voting.

“We believe that biometric voter registration is not the best for us now,” he said.

“Internet penetration rate in rural areas is not yet sufficient enough for people to elect a leader of their choice. At this juncture, it’s not the best method of voting.”

Zanu-Ndonga president Mr Danford Musiyarira said he wanted to consult his party membership on the best way forward adding that he was not was not privy on how the BVR process worked.

“We are used to this old process but I want to consult members of my party so that when I say yes people will also know what I am saying yes to.”

Last week, respected lawyer and academic Justice Simbi Mubako shared his experiences when he observed Kenyan elections using the same technology.

Justice Mubako said: “They used electronic voting and there were serious challenges on it. Mind you, Zimbabwe is predominantly rural. How do you implement it given infrastructure and technological requirements when most areas have no electricity? We will end up reverting to the manual system.”

Another interesting dimension on the use of this technology came from Nigeria where the system failed to recognise former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Reports say Mr Jonathan was only able to vote on third attempt.

Issues of hacking are also of major concern in the whole process and in 2010 some scientists at University of Michigan in the United States of America said they hacked Indian electronic voting machines.

Professor J Alex Halderman who led the project said: “We made an imitation display board that looks almost exactly like the real display in the machines. But underneath some of the components of the board we hide a microprocessor and a bluetooth radio.

“Our look alike display board intercepts the vote totals that the machine is trying to display and replaces them with dishonest totals – basically whatever the bad guy wants to show up at the end of the election.”

Pin It
  • Frank

    These politicians are dull BVR isn’t electronic voting but a voters roll with bio data which can later be converted to electronic voting. The voting is still going to be the old way even the roll is bv. Munhu nechitupa is just not workable

  • Tari

    Nayo biometrics ingayabatana nacho…..let’s get rid of it ingati vhiringire dhiri redu ra2018

    • Zootopia Kakara Kununa

      Nderipiko dhiri racho

  • Tsotso

    Hey prof, looks like you have forgotten the events that destroyed our pride as as Africa’s bread basket, the event that saw the Z$ sink into oblivion, the event which brought us suffering to the point whereby salt is now like a luxury in majority of households, the event that gave rise to team lizard and G40. Let me leave it here so I go to work now. Zanu does not believe in processes but momentary events, which they will never be able to fix, unfortunately.

  • Mutyorahosho

    Hongu tazviona Reporter kuti unotaura nekumashure, asi patazongoona zita rako, hazvina kuzombotishamisa. Ndatenda.

  • Guest_In_Foreign_Land

    This is nonsense! Banks use internet based data management systems for all your transactions, yet the fear and incidents of hacking are never really a concern. Almost everyone swipes their cards at POS units in shops, do you know where the gadgets come from and what other malware could be installed? Zim is not known for manufacturing computer gadgets so if we do not trust them, why do we have to be selective? We must simply banish them from the land as we do not know who made them and what other harm they may do to our country?

    Cellphones and smart TVs can spy on you without your knowledge. Does that mean we throw them away?

    There is absolutely no sincerity in these claims. Some people are simply trying to hold on to the voter registration methods that favour them when they want to manipulate voting outcomes. By the way, all fingerprints people give for ID application and whenever a crime is investigated are stored electronically for quick and accurate cross-referencing! So people lets not hind behind flimsy reasons on this matter.

    Cost wise, the United Nations wanted to sponsor it and the state blocked that saying it will sponsor itself. What has happened now? Millions are raised quickly for birthdays and to charter flights, we can use similar inventiveness to source funds for the gadgets needed for BVR. BVR is the way to go and those opposed to it have to find better reasons.

  • kutototo

    The system owns the game and what the system says, goes.

  • Bee

    Half “backed” or half “baked”?

  • Zootopia Kakara Kununa

    Asi vamwe vanhu sooka kkkk. Ko mangoma.uri we Zanu gara zviya . Ukaona chinorambwa neZanu chakanaka

  • Zootopia Kakara Kununa

    Sadly you are slowing down the process maZanu for obvious personal gains … i sat down yesterday to watch the 1978 and 1979 war documentaries covering Smith Muzorewa Nkomo TONGOGARA vana Mutasa Machel and everyone who was of significant role ….at the end of the day its clear we struggled for a few criminals

  • Hacha Duke of Enkeldoorn

    They do not have any shame.