By Pretty Chavango
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission continues to be adamant that access to the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) servers will remain their sole privilege saying this is being done in public interest to protect personal data.
Amongst other things, the BVR servers houses voter data collected during the voter registration exercise which can be used by political parties and other independent electoral bodies to determine a credible election, however, ZEC reiterates that they are the custodian of all the information.
“We have the servers and all the information is now being uploaded on the servers, it is our duty to maintain the servers and that is exactly what we are doing, and it will be seen in the production of the voters roll,” said a ZEC commissioner.
ZEC acting Chairperson Commissioner Emmanuel Magade echoed the same sentiments saying even he as the ZEC acting chair had limited access to the servers.
“Even I as Acting Chairperson cannot have unimpeded access to the servers, they are as secure as the rock of Gibraltar, rest assured,” he said.
ZEC maintains that it is an independent commission mandated by the constitution to carry out the voter registration and conduct elections without any interference from anyone on how they do their business thus the exclusion of any independent players.
ZEC spokesperson Sly Gwana said the sole access was for the benefit of the people.
“Every citizen wants his or her data secured and the sole body that is entrusted and mandated to secure that data and is also expected to answer to anything that goes wrong with that data is ZEC.
“Therefore it is for that reason, and this is not peculiar to ZEC, all Electoral management bodies have got the mandate to secure the data for the citizens, be assured that the commission is securing the data for everybody, it cannot be the responsibility of any other body except ZEC ,”said Gwana.
Controversy has shrouded the BVR servers as ZEC has from the beginning monopolised the entire process starting by refusing to reveal their location and are now refusing to allow any access to them.
Opposition parties have been asking for a chance to inspect the BVR servers which are located at the commission’s headquarters to make sure they do not come preloaded with data, a request that has been denied.
ZEC is currently in a tender scandal after it was reported to be at the centre of a storm where it is facing allegations of manipulating and violating tender procedures in awarding an American company a contract to supply BVR de-duplication hardware and software.