By Farayi Machamire
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has initiated the process to ensure 2018 elections are held with a clean voters’ roll, with the body floating a tender for the procurement of biometric voter registration kits software.
The tender process — to be conducted online — will be carried out by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Commission.
“This tender is within the context of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Capacity Building Project (ZIM-ECO),” UNDP said in a statement yesterday, adding that bidders who want to submit an offer must be registered.
UNDP manages one of largest procurement operations in the UN system, procuring around $3 billion worth of goods and services each year.
Zec believes when complete, the biometric voters’ roll will improve the integrity of the voters’ roll.
The Commission is rolling out the new technology in an attempt to ensure the forthcoming 2018 presidential and parliamentary elections are transparent and also prove that the nation’s polls can regain credibility after a disputed 2008 poll in which President Robert Mugabe lost to long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai.
Independent monitors have routinely reported “ghost” voters, stuffed ballot boxes and other violations in previous votes.
Zec chairperson Rita Makarau believes the new system is an antidote for all the country’s teething problems of vote rigging.
Observers contend that resourcing of Zec is one of the fundamental reforms that contribute to the holding of credible polls in Zimbabwe.
The electoral body needs about $50 million to adequately prepare for the 2018 polls.
However, the Finance ministry last week allocated just $9,8 million to Zec for the year 2017, raising alarm over the sincerity of government towards democracy.
Lack of funding to implement key electoral processes such as voter education and registration have a huge bearing on elections.
Election Resource Centre director Tawanda Chimhini said the allocation from Treasury will only be able to cater for salaries and limited operations.
He added that with limited funds, Zec would need to comprise activities such as the reach of its voter education, the number of days teams will be deployed to conduct the exercise and materials used to disseminate information. Daily News