Loopholes emerge in BVR

HARARE – Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has admitted to a loophole in the voter registration process, which allows multiple registration using different national identity documents as the biometric voter registration (BVR) kits are not interconnected.

Speaking at a Zec media workshop held in Darwendale last week, Zec commissioner Qhubani Moyo said chancers can biometrically register multiple times using different national identity documents but they will be weeded out of the system at the final stage of the consolidation of BVR data into the servers.

“It is not possible to flush them out instantly because the kits we are using are not linked.

“It can only flush you if you try to register at the same machine. But when you go to two stations it can only be flashed out when we are doing the de-duplication exercise to say this person is registering for a second time,” Moyo said.

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Tendai Biti on Friday said he would be taking the electoral body to court over this loophole in the system, which he said, might translate to a multiple voting system.

“We are concerned by the process of the voter registration exercise. We think that the BVR voter registration exercise so far is a sham exercise that is aimed and meant to abet Zanu PF stealing the 2018 election.

“We are also concerned by the fact that the system is also not preventing multiple-voter registration.

“Once you allow multiple voter registration, it means that you are defeating the whole purpose of BVR.

“Because BVR is intended to stop ghosts from voting, but once there is multiple voter registration, it means the ghosts including those that are buried at the heroes acre are going to vote.

“So, again we are appealing to our legal department and our secretariat to write to Zec and to bring a court application to ensure that there is no parallel voter registration, multiple voter registration, that there is no contamination of the voter registration data base with the false figures that (registrar general (Tobaiwa) Mudede has already created,” Biti said.

While Moyo allayed fears of having multiple voters, he further said that temper proof flash drives will be used to transport data collected from various registration centres before the information is fed into a central data base which is hack proof.

The central data base will be housed at Zec’s Harare offices.

“The process is very secure from the time of registration to the storage. First, the information is collected from the field and it’s saved into temper proof flash drives. The machines (used for BVR) themselves are embedded with USB storage as backup storage.”

A USB is a plug-and-play portable storage device that uses flash memory and is lightweight enough to attach to a keychain.

“The USBs are manually transported to a consolidated server where information will be fed with all the data from all the registration centres.

“All the information will be consolidated into one server which is located at Zec offices (in Harare).

“At this server, we will use the central Automated Finger Identification System (Afis) which will weed out people who have registered more than once to leave us with a clean voters’ roll.

“The clean data will be stored in the final server at our head office,” Moyo said further adding that the server is protected with numerous passwords and other security measures which “I cannot make public”.

The voter registration process is, however, not only dogged with the problem of multiple voter registration, it is also considering providing “Vaseline”  at registration centres as an avalanche of aspirant voters are struggling to biometrically register to vote as the machines are failing to identify their fingerprints.

Notable figures who have endured this hurdle are former Senator David Coltart and MDC Bulawayo East legislator Thabitha Khumalo.

Both Coltart and Khumalo were advised that their fingers were not oily enough and had to rub their fingers in their hair.

Khumalo suggested that the situation was forcing some to use their noses to oil their fingers for registration.

“…yes we know that can happen, even at the police station taking finger prints can be problem tinoisa mafuta (we will use Vaseline) and now that we know it can happen tichapota tichiisa (we will use) Vaseline Zec commissioner Joyce Kazembe told reporters during a Zec media workshop.

Other complaints that have been raised against the BVR process is that the process is taking in excess of 20 minutes instead of four.

There is also skepticism over the BVR sever and transparency, doubts over the capacity of Zec to complete voter registration of everyone that wants to register and that some information is being captured manually.

This also comes amid claims that the process was hurried before Zec was fully equipped to handle the process. – Daily News