Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau says Zimbabwe is unlikely to use the biometric voting system in 2018, raising fears of systematic rigging.
Makarau who has been spearheading ZEC’s mission of coming up with a new voters roll through the capturing of biometrics, says the commission has not been given the green light on the use of the biometric system on the day.
This means ZEC would revert to the old system of identifying voters, hence the system is prone to manipulation.
“The other technology is the one used on the actual voting day to decode the information. At the moment we are not yet contemplating using that technology in 2018. Should we decide to use that technology in 2018, we will inform the public,” Makarau said.
The biometric voting system has flopped in countries like Nigeria where the technology malfunctioned on voting day.
Most primary schools in rural Zimbabwe that are used as polling stations during elections do not have electricity, hence the biometric system cannot be used.
Political analysts say the biometric voter registration is being used to hoodwink the public and opposition political parties into embracing the ‘new’ voters roll.
They say nothing had changed from the old voters roll that is bloated by ghost voters.
Makarau said the public should not confuse the two processes, adding that they would be used separately.
“Biometric voter registration is in two phases. There is one that just allows you to use the biometric voter registration and another aspect that you use on the day to identify the voter. So you want to separate the two,” said Makarau.
Pressure groups such as the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) has been agitating for electoral reforms, but ZEC seems headstrong and would not give in to pressure.
Makarau said the purpose of the biometrics is to avoid double voting on the day, but could not proffer remedies for system malfunction.
“We use the photographs and the fingerprints to make sure that you have not voted twice.
“So we are using it for the voter registration aspect so that there is no double voting because the fingerprint will help us nab multiple voters,” said Makarau.
ZEC is still scrounging for $50 million needed to engage in voter registration that is set to commence in June next year.