Thokozani Khupe, vice president of the Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai, says all parties in Zimbabwe are expected to approve a new voters’ roll set to be compiled by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) using biometric voters kits sourced from China.
Addressing thousands of people drawn from various opposition parties attending a rally in Bulawayo on Saturday organized by the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA), Khupe said the new voters’ register should be only be used after the parties have given it a nod and signed an agreement allowing ZEC to use it in the 2018 general elections.
“All parties should be given an electronic version of the voters’ roll so that they can verify the names on the register. This will give parties a chance to check if their party followers are included on the voters’ roll. When all political parties agree that the voters’ roll is correct then the political parties will inform ZEC that they are happy with it.
“Thereafter all contesting political parties should sign it, page by page, so that if someone goes to a polling station and his or her name is missing then we will stop that election,” she said amid applause from the crowd.
She said this is one of the ways of monitoring the registration of voters through the use of people’s physical features like eyes and other body parts, a process known as biometric registration.
Some Zimbabwean have already attacked the State Procurement Board for selecting a Chinese company to provide biometric voters’ registration kits worth millions of dollars. China is one of Zimbabwe’s all-weather allies.
The previous voters roll, according to some political parties and independent observers, had thousands of dead people’s names, resulting in claims that the ruling party was using it to rig elections.
President Robert Mugabe’s government has over the years dismissed these allegations as unfounded though the Registrar General’s Office, which used to register voters, has acknowledged that the old register had names of dead people.