$15m boost for voter registration

18 Sep, 2017 - 00:09 0 Views
$15m boost for voter registration Justice Makarau

The Herald

Justice Makarau

Justice Makarau

Felex Share Senior Reporter
Treasury has released $15 million to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) for the national voter registration blitz which begins today in readiness for harmonised elections next year.

The electoral body starts with continuous voter registration today, while a massive blitz is expected next month.

This is all part of preparations for next year’s harmonised elections.

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The boost from Treasury comes as ZEC has paid $3,5 million to Chinese company, Laxton Group, for the supply of the remaining 2 600 biometric voter registration (BVR) kits.

Laxton Group — which has delivered 400 kits — is supplying the electoral body with a total of 3 000 kits at a cost of $7,5 million.

ZEC chairperson Justice Rita Makarau yesterday said funding for voter registration had been secured.

She said all was set for the exercise which will see the electoral body creating a new voters’ roll since taking over the constitutional mandate from the Registrar-General’s Office.

“For the voter registration blitz, we needed $15 million and Treasury has since supported us to that tune,” she said.

“The money is there and that is why we are saying we are ready. All we need is for the people to come and register now. We urge them to come forward and exercise their right to register and vote in the forthcoming elections.”

The exercise will be conducted using biometric voter registration (BVR) technology which entails capturing a person’s fingerprints, facial features, and identity card details.

This rules out any chances of double voting.

Justice Makarau said the remaining 2 600 BVR kits were expected in the country next month.

It is after the delivery of the kits that a nationwide voter registration blitz would begin.

Said Justice Makarau: “In terms of the contract, the due date for the supply of the kits is 12 October. We are expecting delivery on or before that date.

“There are no challenges at the moment and we don’t expect any. So far indications are that Laxton will meet their obligations. On our part as Zec, we have since paid the balance of the entire contract price. We paid them 50 percent of the amount for them to deliver the 400 kits and we await fulfilment of the contract.”

On continuous voter registration commencing today, she said Zec teams were ready at all the 63 centres countrywide.

“Our centres are ready and as indicated earlier, we will be registering voters at all the 63 district offices of Zec in the country,” Justice Makarau said.

“The information has been distributed through the provincial structures and we hope to start off at 7:45 am tomorrow. We will then give an update of the number of people who would have presented themselves to our registration centres countrywide by Tuesday.”

Zec intends to register seven million voters using the new kits.

About 5,8 million people were registered in the voters’ roll used in the last harmonised elections in 2013.

The new voters’ roll being created will be polling station-based.

This means voters will only cast their ballot at the polling station at which their names appear on the voters’ roll.

The voter registration that was being used was ward-based and voters could vote at any polling station within their wards.

The Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13) provides for the creation of polling station-based voter registers.

The new localised system is expected to avoid double voting, voting by ineligible people and possible inflation of votes for participating candidates.

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