Biometric voter registration is scheduled to begin around October 2017 using technology with capacity to capture data of over 16 million prospective voters. The exercise will use 3 000 registration kits at 9 663 centres countrywide over two to three months. These details are in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s BVR rollout plan as presented to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Gender and Community Development last week.
BVR will be conducted in four phases per province.
The document reads, “The rollout plan involves the following processes which are anticipated to be completed by end of December 2017, holding all other factors constant: 400 BVR kits to be used for training before rollout; 73 BVR kits to be deployed at HQ, provincial and district offices as from rollout date for continuous VR (voter registration) at all Zec offices; 2 585 BVR kits to be deployed for the national blitz exercise, with 342 kits to be set aside for back-up; the exercise will use 9 663 static registration centres; the registration for each phase will consist of 16 days of registration per centre and two days of movement of kits to the next centre; the plan is based on four phases within each province, where one kit is expected to register 6 400 voters during the four phases, averaging 1 600 registrations in each phase.”
Zec will conduct staff training before BVR rollout.
The document also says: “All participating officers will be recruited and trained at provincial level prior to launching so that all 3 000 kits will be deployed on the ground.
“In preparation for the rollout plan, the pre-BVR publicity and awareness campaigns will commence soon.
‘‘Cleaning, de-duplication, compilation and printing of the Voters’ Roll will be done after the blitz.
“The (actual voter registration) procedure includes the following processes: completion of VR (Voter Registration) 1 form as back-up; capturing of personal details by kit operators; scanning of documents, taking photos and fingerprints; issuing registration slips/receipts as proof of registration.”
The document says pregnant women, nursing mothers, the elderly, people living with disabilities and the sick will get special treatment.
It also advocates a “women-friendly” approach to politics ahead of BVR.
“There is need to lobby and advocate changes in the culture and systems of different political parties as well as the media in order to make politics women-friendly.
“There is also need for a platform to dialogue and change people’s perceptions on the importance of women’s representation in politics and decision-making and, indeed, the participation of other marginalised groups.”
In the document, Zec reveals that US$274 million is required for the 2018 harmonised polls.
The figure has since raised questions, especially among opposition elements, as about US$130 million was spent on the 2013 plebiscite.
Though some countries have spent far less, reports indicate that Kenya will expend roughly US$500 million towards its general election next month.