by Watmore Makokoba
Opposition political parties Tuesday came out guns blazing threatening massive demonstration over government’s sudden summersault to takeover of the ongoing procurement of Biometric Voter Registration kits.
The parties, under the banner of National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) insist the hijacking of the program insists the move is a ploy by Zanu PF to rig the make or break 2018 elections.
United Nations Development Program took charge of the BVR procurement process and had reached advanced stages which the parties have been kept abreast of by the Zimbabwe Election Commission.
“We demand that the current UNPD procurement process must proceed undisturbed. We call upon all Zimbabweans from all walks of life to resist this rigging. To that extent both NERA and CODE will close ranks in order to fight these attempts to manipulate the electoral process. A legal suit as well as massive nationwide demonstrations will be launched should the government persist with its evil agenda. To that end political parties will work together to ensure that the rights of the Zimbabwean people are not trampled underfoot by this vile regime,
“ZEC is a government captured institution without any resemblance of independence as required by the constitution. As political parties we don’t believe that ZEC is able to run a free and fair election. Rita Makarau has failed to demand or advocate for an independent ZEC. As such we don’t recognize what ZEC and the government are doing. We therefore demand that ZEC be disbanded and reconstituted by agreement by all political parties. If that cannot be done then we resort to the 1980 vote system where voters need only produce an ID”, read the statement from the political parties.
“Recent statements from the Minister of Finance that the government has decided to take over the procurement process of the Biometric Voter Registration kits from the UNDP. We are told that somehow miraculously the government has secured the money for the procurement of the kits although we have not been advised of the actual amount that the government has secured as well as the source of this money,
“It is interesting that the government declares it has no money but when it suits itself they suddenly have it. This confirms our fears that this government is determined to rig the 2018 elections therefore as both NERA and CODE we totally reject the move by the government and ZEC to change the BVR kits procurement process and take out UNDP from the voter registration process,” said Farai Mbira, President of Zimbabweans United for Democracy and current chairperson of CODE.
Responding to the same issue during parliament session, Vice President Emerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa said “it is not true that government has taken over the whole process of acquiring BVR Kits from UNDP, but only that government has just managed to give ZEC the 70 million that was required, but the process is solely in the hands of ZEC and still transparent”.
If successful, Zimbabwe will for the first time implement the BVR system for the first time and this has been implemented successfully in other countries such as Nigeria.