Zec urged to embrace new electoral technology

THE Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) has called on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to embrace new technology to improve efficiency in its electoral management system.

by Stephen Chadenga

Addressing a stakeholders’ workshop in Gweru yesterday, Zesn’s monitoring and observation manager Ian Goredema said incorporating new technology would help eliminate anomalies such as duplicate registration and multiple voting.

“There is need for the country to adopt the biometric voter registration system to do away with double registrations,” Goredema said.

“Though technology comes with its costs, there are ways that can be employed to make sure the advantages of such a system outweigh the expensive equipment used.”

Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau recently announced that the commission would soon adopt the biometric system.

Goredema said the biometric system ensured an efficient way of capturing voters’ records, hence instilled confidence in the electoral process.

A number of African countries like South Africa, Zambia, Kenya and Ghana have adopted the biometric voter system in their electoral processes.

There were, however, mixed feelings from participants at the meeting with some feeling that the use of ICTs in voting processes, particularly in the rural areas, had the potential to intimidate voters.

“Just having that scanner for fingerprints, a camera and a laptop can intimidate voters, who, in the past, have been told by certain political parties that they could use such devices to monitor whom they vote for,” one participant said.

But Goredema said there was need for continuous voter education to dispel such myths.

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