Parliament takes Mnangagwa to task over biometric voter registration


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THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MNANGAGWA):  All the current existing political parties which participated in the issue of migrating from manual voting to biometric are agreed that we should go biometric.  That is not an issue.  The second issue is, who is going to buy the equipment?  The Government of Zimbabwe has agreed to provide the US$17 million required to buy that equipment.  The question of specifications as to what type of gadgets are going to be bought is technical.  The Government of Zimbabwe is not involved.  It is ZEC with its own technical experts identifying equipment and there are so many companies that have come forward, who are offering specifications that have been put forward.

So, it is not true that the Government of Zimbabwe is itself run; it has advanced $17 million to ZEC to acquire.  I think every single Zimbabwean who is patriotic will feel proud that we are totally independent in finding resources to acquire equipment for ourselves rather than getting it from some other sources.  We are all concerned with the issue of a fair, transparent general elections and would want to achieve that.  This is why as political parties, we have all agreed to go biometric.  I thank you.

*HON. CHAMISA:  My supplementary question to the Vice President, Hon. Mnangagwa is, we have heard what you told us on the fact that Government is only coming in to assist in terms of funds on the procurement that was supposed to be done by UNDP.  My question is, why is it that Government seems to be backtracking, yet it was agreed that the UN, through the UNDP, would procure the biometric machines.  This is emanating from the fact that our elections are marred by a lot of conflict because there are some interruptions that happened.  What I want to know is, why is it that we have changed or backtracked from the original plan.  Will this biometric system be used only for registration or it can also be used during the voting system because we have heard that it can only be used for registration and when people cast their votes, that system will not be used.  We want you to enlighten the nation on what will happen.  I am sure you are aware of what happened in Gambia.  We do not want such conflicts.  I thank you.

*HON. MNANGAGWA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I have clearly heard the question that has come from Hon. Pastor Nelson Chamisa, the Vice President of the Opposition.  We have not cut communication ties with UNDP.  We have a lot of support that they give in terms of capacity building and that has not been cancelled.  It is not only UN but also the EU countries and other bi-lateral organisations.  Instead of each organisation or country coming forward, they have a basket fund that is used through UNDP.  They dictate to us on what they want us to do and we will have requested what we want them to do.  Probably, it can be capacity building like ICT.  We have agreed on that note and capacity building will continue.

Hon. Chamisa, my will is that there be no conflict and unfairness during the elections, hence we have requested ZEC as an independent organisation to engage political parties before we get to the elections so that they address issues raised by various political parties.  All those who want to be candidates should be given the opportunity to air their concerns so that when we get to the elections, all of us are convinced and happy with the process.  That is what is currently happening.  We agreed before with the political parties although some were not yet in existence but I know Hon. Chamisa’s Party was already in existence and we agreed we now want to adopt the biometric system.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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