By Staff Reporter
Harare, May 13, 2016 – PROFESSOR Welshman Ncube’s MDC has welcomed the introduction of the Biometric voting system by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) but was quick to caution more needed to be done to ensure a more conducive electoral environment.
ZEC on Wednesday announced the introduction of the system which the country’s opposition sees as key to plugging loopholes that have been dogged the country’s polls with Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau saying this will help curb cases of double voting..
In a statement, MDC welcomed the initiative but said the electoral playing field could be much better if other factors that have rocked the country’s controversial poll system could also be addressed.
“…While we welcome the move and give it our full support as the system deals with multiple registrations and double voting, which have been the bane of our electoral system, it is important to note that the biometric system alone cannot address the plethora of challenges currently affecting our electoral environment,” party spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi said.
The MDC said there was need for the system to be complemented by a supporting environment which involved security reforms and full implementation of electoral reforms as prescribed in the electoral act.
“It is our view that BVR addresses only part of the problem in our electoral system and a lot still needs to be done to improve it,” Chihwayi said.
“BVR will not deal with the militarism that pervades our politics and the freedom and security of the voter, before, during and after voting.
“It will not deal with the presence of state security personnel at polling stations as is usually the case, which only serves to heighten fear and intimidation of voters.
“The BVR will not deal with the partisan coverage by public media which is currently just a preserve of ZANU PF and it will not address availability of the voters roll.
“Electoral bodies, electoral funding, voter education, voter registration; observation and monitoring; access to public media, counting and post-election happenings, freedom and security of the voter – are some factors still heavily skewed in favour of ZANU PF.”
The MDC further urged ZEC to ensure there were proper resources in place to facilitate the smooth running of the system.
This it said, must be preceded by a comprehensive voter education exercise and engagements involving all stakeholders including the electorate and political parties.