THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) says it’s ready to roll out the Bio-metric Voters Roll as it aims to curb the cumbersome and time consuming woes associated with the old manual system, a top ZEC official has said.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with TechnoMag, the ZEC official who requested anonymity hinted that plans to commission the new automated system voters roll are at an advanced stage and come next year January, the system will be ready to roll.
By David Zvina
“We are hoping that by January 2017, we will commence rolling out the new automated system but mainly in the urban areas.
“The bio-metric voters role is a highly advanced bio-metric information system that allows to enroll and identify millions of voters quickly and unmistakably. Using bio-metric identifiers, the possibility of election fraud is minimized, at the same time considerably accelerating the voter identification process,” said the source.
The source added that some of the key characteristic of the BioLink Bio-metric Voter Registration System (BVRS) ere are that it has a full range of bio-metric parameters to identify the voters by fingerprints, iris, voice etc.
The system constitutes highly customizable software modules for both input and output settings Comprehensive data logs and reports for thorough voter activity monitoring before and during the election period. Wide range of supported hardware (fingerprint scanners, IRIS/Face cameras etc.Highest level security settings for data protection.
Zimbabwe’s adoption of the bio-metric voters roll follows other regional and African countries such as Ghana, Cameroon and Nigeria where this system has already been put in place.
In Nigeria, the system was marred by technical problems with electronic fingerprint readers, which are intended to verify voters’ identities before being allowed to cast their ballot.Not even Goodluck Jonathan former Nigerian President was not spared as the card reader failed to recognise his identity and he had to wait nearly 50 minutes before he was able to vote. This flow even forced the nigerian election to be extended to the next day.
It’s a familiar scenario in present-day African elections. At least 25 countries in Africa have tried an electronic component of one kind of another in their voting systems, including Ghana, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Malawi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Cote d’Ivoire. Many have failed spectacularly.
In Ghana’s last election in December 2012, bio-metric kits failed in many parts of the country, forcing voting to be pushed to the second day.
In Kenya, there were malfunctions in both the bio-metric kits and, more extensively, in the electronic tallying system forcing a manual tallying of votes; opposition leaders in both countries cried foul and challenged the results in court – and, predictably, lost.
The big question remains, is Zimbabwe going to be spared from these malfunctions. Imagine President Robert Mugabe failing to vote just because the system has failed to recognise his finger print!!!