Government secures $17m for biometric voter registration kits

Government has now secured $17 million to fund the acquisition of biometric voter registration (BVR) kits for the 2018 elections, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) said yesterday.

Government had pledged $17 million while other development partners through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) pledged the balance.

The biometric polling station-based voter registration process is supposed to be financed jointly by the government of Zimbabwe and the UNDP.

“I also want to make an announcement at this stage now that the government of Zimbabwe has come on board and has decided that it will fund the acquisition of the BVR kits instead of letting the UNDP do it on its own,” Zec chairperson Rita Makarau told a press briefing yesterday.

“It will fund whatever award is given to the bidder; they will fund that acquisition of BVR kits.”

Makarau could not be drawn to say why government had taken so long to come on board.

“I can’t speak on behalf of government, you would have to ask them but we are grateful they have come on board as this is a national process and we would have loved that they pay for everything right from the word go,” she said.

This comes after Zec and UNDP flighted a tender in December inviting potential local and international companies to supply the BVR kits. The tender closed on January 17.

Makarau also revealed that five companies had been shortlisted to supply the kits.

She said out of the 12 companies which were assessed, seven of the bids were non-compliant.

“Out of those five bids, three will be selected to then come into the country with their equipment on a selected date and to demonstrate on the ground what their equipment can do,” she said.

“After the site validation tests, we can award the tender to one supplier who will supply us with the BVR kits.

“The tendering process — because we were being financed by the UNDP — was done on the UNDP e-Platform which was run from Copenhagen.

“The bids were opened and we all witnessed the opening of the bids here through technology,” Makarau said.

The BVR process, which is expected to start next month, will be one of the key electoral processes which will culminate in the creation of a fresh voters’ roll and would capture biometrics such as a person’s unique physical traits and fingerprints among other things. Daily News