Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) yesterday resolved to extend the mobile Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) programme pending availability of resources.
The mobile BVR programme that started in October was shut down yesterday following the completion of its four phases with over 4,6 million successfully registering to vote.
Zec commissioner Dr Qhubani Moyo said Zec had resolved to extend the voter registration programme.
“We have resolved to extend subject to availability of resources. So the principle of extension was adopted but we are waiting for Treasury to release the funds. Once we receive the money we will be able to release the dates of the extension and how long it will take. We are closing today and are not extending tomorrow,” said Dr Moyo.
The electoral commission has applied for $7,9 million to extend the BVR programme.
He said the public can approach its district and provincial centres where registration will continue.
“Our centres in the districts which are static centres remain open, for instance someone can go register at our centres in Famona in Bulawayo. We want to emphasise that while we have closed the outreach programme and the blitz, we have not closed registration at the centres,” Dr Moyo said.
Zec has claimed that it needs to extend the BVR programme to cater for people who were left behind in the earlier phases of the programme.
It said it faced teething problems at the infancy stage of the BVR programme and people with alien status who were previously not allowed to vote can now register to vote.
The electoral commission has said it needs to cater for the people who were in the Diaspora who may desire to vote in the coming elections.
Government has already budgeted $132,2 million towards holding of harmonised elections.
The allocation was made during the 2018 National Budget Statement presented by the Finance and Economic Planning Minister Cde Patrick Chinamasa two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, Zec will not open its servers to the public as its data storage facility is a security area.
Zec commissioner Dr Moyo said this in an interview following calls by some civil society organisations that Zec should make its servers accessible to members of the public for accountability purposes.
However, the Zec commissioner said the electoral body cannot open up its servers to the public due to security reasons.
“Zimbabwe has millions of people and if we open up our servers you can imagine what will happen. But the key thing is that storage of data is purely a security matter between Zec and the person who is registered. The moment you begin to open that data to anyone else other than the party that has registered, you will be compromising the whole issue of secrecy of data,” said Dr Moyo.
He said there is a difference between Zec’s constitutional mandate in dealing with electoral matters and civil society’s expectations.
Dr Moyo said the public would be invited to evaluate data during voter inspection which will lead to the formulation of a voter’s roll.
“There is going to be voter inspection, so during voter inspection the people can then evaluate the information that we would have put into the servers as this is what is going to be placed in the provisional voter’s roll,” Dr Moyo said.
Article Source: The Chronicle