Mangoma’s RDZ blast BVR …. Zimbabwean electoral challenges not technological

Mlondolozi Ndlovu

Former Minister of Energy and Power Development in the government of national unity, Elton Mangoma’s Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe (RDZ) opposition party has maintained its stance that it does not believe in the newly introduced Biometric voters roll.

The biometric voting system is a system that uses features such as the finger prints, face and any of the body features to recognise the voters.

Zimbabwe Electoral commission ZEC has maintained that it will use the BVR process for registration of new voters with reports that the system could be used for voting in the upcoming 2018 polls.

While the BVR process has been used in other countries such as Nigeria it has brought with it challenges among them the failure to recognise the former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s face.

In Zimbabwe civil society and other opposition political parties have been advocating for this voting system, with those that are arguing for its using saying it could help avoid voter duplication an issue they say has allowed Zanu PF to rig elections.

Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe in a statement are adamant that that BVR will not solve the country’s electoral challenges that have been experienced in the country’s previous elections.

“The credibility of elections in Zimbabwe has never been technological but man made. Multiple voting, violence, intimation and exclusion are some of the reasons why the elections in Zimbabwe have been discredited.    These are critical issues that must be addressed and the introduction of Biometric Voting can never address the element of violence, intimidation, exclusion and force marching voters to polling stations,” said the party in a statement.

The party also highlighted that BVR was an infringement to the rights of Zimbabwean citizens as it was likely to disenfranchise some voters.

“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,” they added.

RDZ which is a member of the Coalition for Democrats (CODE) reiterated its calls for the country to use the national identity cards, a move which it said will allow every Zimbabwean to vote.

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

Zimbabwe’s elections have been marred by controversy with the MDC-T crying foul that the 2013 elections were rigged by an Israel company NIKUV.

Though BVR is being introduced by ZEC little has been done to educate the ordinary citizens on this new voting system.

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