BVR tests complete That the Government of Zimbabwe has provided funds for the procurement of BVR equipment cannot be “an assault on democracy”
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Rita Makarau addresses stakeholders on 2018 election preparations

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Rita Makarau addresses stakeholders on 2018 election preparations

Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter—
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is set to present to the State Procurement Board the evaluation report on the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits from the two firms, that were being tested this week. The SPB would eventually make a determination on which company would supply the kits for voter registration ahead of the 2018 harmonised elections.

Laxton Group of Companies from China and Dermalog Identification Systems of Germany supplied the BVR kits that were being tested.
Yesterday, the evaluators and the technical team presented their recommendations to ZEC and observers.

According to the companies’ event bid history supplied to stakeholders involved in the validation tests, the Laxton Group Limited bid is close to $4 million, while Dermalog Identification Systems wants $5,5 million for its equipment.

Laxton Group has been active in Africa after it supplied 8 000 BVR kits and instant PVC card issuance kits to Tanzania in 2015.

It has also worked in Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique, where it reportedly supplied BVR kits, generators, batteries and other accessories for voter registration and elections.

Its system has also been used on identifications cards in Malawi.

Dermalog Identification Systems says it has 25 years of experience in biometrics innovation.

On Tuesday, the kits underwent water and shock resistance tests.

The kits from Laxton Group of Companies and Dermalog Identification Systems were dropped from 1,5 metres before being put under a torrent of water for 10 seconds to test their resistance.

After the drop and drenching, the two kits were opened and operators were asked to begin using them to see if they had withstood the tests.
Laxton Group kits were not affected, while the Dermalog Identification Systems suffered a slight glitch, but went back online after some time.

ZEC also took the kits through time testing, both on the number of voters registered per hour and per day, with the two companies running for the tender finishing just 30 minutes apart, with the Laxton kits being faster.

The commission will deliberate on the recommendations and comments before making a decision in terms of the provisions of the State Procurement Act.

The site validation process was witnessed by representatives of political parties, civil society organisations, Government officials, independent commissions, ZEC’s cooperating partners and the media

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