By Daniel Chigundu
Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe (RDZ) says biometric voter registration (BVR) kits are not the solution to election rigging as they cannot stop political violence and intimidation.
Zimbabwe is trying to introduce a biometric voter’s roll for 2018 general elections and most opposition parties and the international community is putting faith in the BVR kits to help end claims of election rigging.
However, in a statement, RDZ said while the BVR will help clean the voter’s roll of ghost voter’s, it has no mechanisms to stop such critical things as political violence and intimidation which normally characterize Zimbabwean elections since 2000.
“RDZ reiterates its strong opposition to the introduction of the questionable, intrusive and manipulable Biometric Voting System in the 2018 general elections. RDZ has been on record that 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. 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.
“It is to this end that RDZ proposes very affordable solutions on enforcing the people’s right to vote. We demand that citizens with valid passports and identity cards be allowed to vote on the voting day at polling stations of their choice and for their candidates. Zimbabwe used the same system in 1980 and at the 2000 referendum and worked perfectly,” said the statement.
The Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe said the current impasse on who should procure the BVR kits is not necessary; adding that what is needed is to agree on the ink to be used to eradicate multiplicity in voting.
RDZ added that it is in agreement with Zimbabweans calling for elections that are supervised and monitored by international community such as SADC, AU, EU and UN, as the voting population has lost confidence and trust in ZEC after years of crooked polls.
ZEC has been accused of aiding Zanu PF to rig elections in the country and the organisation has even turned some blind eye to acts of violence and intimidation in previous elections.
However, ZEC chairperson Rita Makarau is on record saying her organisation is not empowered to punish perpetrators or those founding to be breaking electoral laws.
The election board is also widely condemned by opposition parties in the country for its preference of ex-military personnel to run the day to day operations of the organisation.
Although ZEC is supposed to be an independent commission, RDZ says it is difficult to separate the election board from Zanu PF as it has always changed rules in their favour in previous elections.
“It is beyond any reasonable doubt that ZEC cannot be separated from the ruling party. Continuous tendencies of changing the rules by ZEC before an election are a clear testimony that they want to twist the game in favour of their paymasters.
“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 need to verify the results. Therefore, Munhu nechitupa chake is the way to go,” said RDZ.