Biometric voting good but . . .

THE opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has urged civil society groups and opposition political parties to be “very alert” as the nation mulls adopting biometric voting technology as it comes with its own set of challenges.

BY KHANYILE MLOTSHWA

PDP secretary-general, Gorden Moyo made the remarks at a recent public meeting held in Bulawayo to discuss civic matters.

Moyo said, although riddled with challenges, biometric technology was important because electoral reforms always led to change.

“But the reforms are like a bee. They have honey in the mouth and a sting on the tail. This system (biometric) is that kind of reform. It is a system we can use to transform our politics, but it can be used to rig elections,” he said.

“That is why organising on the ground to guard against cheating is still very important. That is
why our party is pushing for a coalition, so we monitor as a collective.”

Moyo called on opposition parties to unite to ensure the system works.

“But when we are not only divided, but sub-divided, as the opposition is in Zimbabwe, we will be cheated,” he said.

“The 2018 election will be a landmark election. We should not leave anything to chance. We want to be together, one team, one big national team.”

Moyo said biometric technology was being successfully used in countries such as United States of America, Canada, Brazil, India, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Namibia,Zambia and Nigeria, but was dumped by countries such as Australia, Germany, Scotland, Netherlands, and United Kingdom because it lacked privacy and did not comply well with their constitutions.

“We then ask ourselves, won’t this be dangerous in our country? Seventy percent of our voters are in rural areas, under the authority of chiefs, who can tell them that the machines will reproduce pictures of who they voted for,” he said.

“We will cry foul over another Nikuv. This will be a dangerous method if people have not been taught about it. Let’s teach the people. When it started the government never wanted it.

Suddenly, they want it. Maybe they already have hired machines for the elections, that they have already installed with a software to change our votes. That is why it is important for opposition and CSOs to mark every step. There can be hacking,” he said.

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