CSOs call on ZEC to be transparent and accountable on BVR tender

Civil Society Organisations have called on the Zim-babwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to declare its independence and exhibit accountability and trans-parency regarding the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits tendering process.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) affiliate mem-bers implored the ZEC to disclose and clarify the reasons why the tender was awarded to the Chinese firm, Laxton Group Companies ahead of Demalog Identification Systems of Germ
any so as to dispel negative perceptions and the mistrust that has arisen among citizens over the whole tendering process.

Platform for Youth Development Trust (PYD) Director, Claris Madhuku said while his organisation had no detailed proof of underhand dealings be-tween government, the ZEC and the Chinese firm, there was enough suspicion to suspect that the ten-dering process was fraudulently done in favour of Laxton Group Companies.
“PYD was not involved in the process that led to Laxton Group Companies getting the tender, but our response is that this is a very technical exercise which is perceptive,” said Madhuku.

“The relationship between China and Zimbabwe makes it very difficult to conclude that this was an independent process. Our government and Zanu Pf have very strong, sophisticated and manipulative relationship with China.”
Godlwayo Community Development Trust Direc-tor, Nkululeko Tshuma, said because of the existing and the previous relationship between China and the Zimbabwean government, it was highly probably that the tendering process was biased in favour of Laxton Group Companies.

“Unless the ZEC clarifies how the registration infor-mation will be kept and the various detailed infor-mation and logistics are going to be done, citizens are justified not to trust the ZEC and Laxton Group Companies.”
Tshuma said such a development had the potential to see Zimbabwe holding an election whose out-come would be disputed.

Commenting in his own personal capacity, Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers’ Association proa daily publication, The Newsday failing to dispel fears that the Chinese firm had been imposed by the SPB to the ZEC.
Muguti said because Makarau chose to play hide and seek with the electorate despite that it was her man-date to be answerable to Zimbabweans regarding the electoral processes, it was highly likely that the 2018 elections would record increased voter apathy.

Chitungwiza Residents Trust (Chitrest) Director, Marvellous Khumalo said Justice Makarau’s action had the potential to destroy the credibility of the new voters’ register which is going to be compiled out of this exercise.
“Citizens are aware that the SPB is composed of individuals who are aligned to President Robert Mugabe and Zanu Pf hence their decisions can nev-er be independent,” he said, adding that it was obvi-ous that decisions made by this body were not inde-pendent and were bound to be influenced by certain interests especially to protect the status quo.
The Executive Director for Combined Harare Resi-dents Association (CHRA), Mfundo Mlilo urged the ZEC to be open regarding electoral matters especial-ly on the BRV so that the electorate has confidence in the capacity for ZEC to preside over credible elections “The SPB is not answerable to citizens regarding the electoral processes but ZEC is. Justice Makarau should up her game and ensure that there is transparency and accountability on the part of the ZEC to ensure that citizens and other stakeholders have confidence in the whole registration exercise,” he said.

Mlilo said because voter registration was the foundation for an auditable voters’ roll, it was important for ZEC to instil public confidence if Zimba-bwe was to hold free, fair and credible polls.The Constitution categorises ZEC as one of the country’s independent commissions.

Some of the ZEC’s key objectives as stipulated in the Constitution include to support and entrench human rights and democracy, protect the sover-eignty and interests of the people, promote Constitutionalism and pro-moting transparency and accountability in public institutions.

Article 235 of the supreme law of the land states that independent com-missions are “independent and are not subject to the direction or control of anyone, must act in accordance with the Constitution and must exer-cise their functions without fear, favour or prejudice”.

Civil society organisations called on ZEC to restores public confidence regarding BVR kits procurement, since this will set a very good founda-tion for the forthcoming poll.

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  1. Patrick Guramatunhu

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