April 19, 2013 -
The Tanzanian government has officially endorsed the National Electoral Commission’s plans to use a biometric electoral system for the country’s upcoming elections in 2015.
Reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, NEC chairman Damian Lubuva made comments suggesting the commission is planning to float tenders for the acquisition earlier this week.
Many countries are implementing or have already used biometric systems for elections, and in particular, both Kenya and Ghana have recently completed elections using biometric verification devices.
Following these recent African elections, there has been some criticism of the effect of biometric systems and how useful they’ve been. Responding to this, the Tanzanian Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda argued contingencies will likely be considered as a part of this process.
“I still believe that NEC might also come up with an alternative means if the biometric system fails as it happened to the Kenya’s elections,” Pinda said.
There has also been criticism in the country that the NEC has decided to implement this system without the proper consultation, in regards to logistics and cost.
“I don’t think if NEC has bad intention on this, but its intention is meant to provide answers to the complaints on the authenticity of election results,” Pinda said.
The South African company that provided Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission with the verification machines used in the country’s presidential elections last month says it can’t be blamed for a failure by election officers to use the gadgets properly.
According to a report in Nzweek, in March the United National Development Programme (UNDP) gave US$22.5 Million to Tanzania to prepare for its 2015 elections, and Damian Lubuva has hinted that the government might use the money to fund the biometric system.