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ERC busts BVR abuse by ZEC and Zanu PF officials

By Moses Chibaya

THE Election Resource Centre (ERC) has raised alarm over the abuse of the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) process by alleged Zanu PF and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) officials at a settlement outside Harare.

This was after the poll based NGO last week was alerted of some ZEC officials conducting BVR registration in Caledonia and were keeping their kits at a local Zanu PF councillor’s home overnight.

The tip-off was through ERC’s call centre, a platform for citizens to report any poll related irregularities or untoward experiences to do with the national process.

Following the tip-off in the Goromonzi South constituency, ERC last week partnered the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (Zimrights) to investigate the claims.

When their team visited the area Tuesday evening, they identified themselves to local monitors and police officers who were found at the place.

The ERC-ZimRights team questioned the police officers regarding the accommodation of the registration officers and the storage of the BVR kits.

Police confirmed that the registration officers were residing at the house of the chairman of a political party.

The team also figured out that VR9 forms were being commissioned and sold at the chairman’s house at a cost of 10 cents each.

The matter was communicated to ZEC which pledged to deal with the anomaly.

“The ERC condemns such irregularities as they threaten the credibility and inclusivity of the BVR process,” said the group in a statement.

“Registration must be inclusive – accessible to all groups and categories of eligible citizens. The BVR process must not exclude other persons from registration to serve political advantage.

“In addition, the incident potentially disenfranchises a certain sector of potential registrants as citizens from other parties expressed worry and fear as they were not comfortable interacting with the party chairman.

“Political parties and the public need to believe that voter registration has been conducted with integrity, equity, accuracy and effectiveness.

“The ERC, therefore, urges Zec to ensure that the BVR process remains apolitical and the Commission must be neutral and ensure the process conforms to the international best practice”.

Gary Murambiwa
the authorGary Murambiwa