‘ZEC controls voting material’

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa answers questions in Parliament yesterday. — Picture by John Manzongoa

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa answers questions in Parliament yesterday. — Picture by John Manzongoa

Farirai Machivenyika:Senior Reporter

Government has not taken over the procurement of Biometric Voter Registration kits, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa told the National Assembly yesterday.VP Mnangagwa said this during the Question and Answer Session while responding to questions from various MDC-T parliamentarians.

MDC-T proportional representative for Bulawayo Ms Thokozani Khupe, asked why Government had taken over the process, reneging on an agreement by political parties that the United Nations Development Programme lead the procurement.

“The first issue is, as political parties we have all agreed that we should go biometric because we all do not want disputed elections,” said VP Mnangagwa.

“The second thing is that the Government of Zimbabwe has agreed to provide the $17 million that is required to buy that equipment. The question of which equipment is going to be bought and the technical issues is up to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. So, the question that Government has taken over is not true.”

VP Mnangagwa said Government continued to enjoy cordial relations with the UNDP and other development partners.

“We have not cut relations with the UNDP,” he said.

“They support us through capacity building and these programmes still continue and it’s not them alone, but the EU and other multilateral organisations into one fund which is managed by the UNDP.

“As Government, we do not want disputed elections that is why ZEC is independent to consult parties on their concerns.”

VP Mnangagwa said it was important that parties realised that ZEC was a creation of the country’s Constitution and, therefore, the primary responsibility of funding was with Government.

“ZEC is a creation of our Constitution and is funded by Government and where they want access to foreign funds they have to be cleared,” he said.

“We support ZEC ourselves and in areas we feel we have no capacity we allow them to seek assistance from co-operating partners.”

VP Mnangagwa reiterated that ZEC had a platform for all political parties to air their grievances, so that chances of a disputed election were reduced.

The BVR kits are expected to reduce issues around double entries and appearance of dead people on the voters’ roll that have been raised by opposition political parties in the past elections.

The parties have attributed their perennial electoral losses to Zanu-PF and an alleged defective voters’ roll.