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Tanzania looks to implement biometric system for 2015 election

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Tanzania’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) has confirmed that plans are in place to use a biometric electoral system for the country’s upcoming 2015 elections.

According to a report in NZweek, NEC chairman Damian Lubuva said the commission is planning to float tenders for the acquisition of the system, and has said that the NEC will invite donors to fund the procurement and installation of the system.

Deflecting criticism that the government has not been transparent in this decision-making, Lubuva said: “The whole decision was made by the government, which is our main stakeholder. There is no need of hiding the process from the public. Everything will be known after we complete the whole tendering procedure.”

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.

Kenya’s election was plagued by long lines, blamed on the biometric verification machines being used.  

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.

Following Ghana’s election, the country broke the world record previously held by India for having registered and verified approximately 13 million people for an election within 48 hours.

According to the Nzweek report, in March the United National Development Programme (UNDP) gave US$22.5 Million to Tanzania to prepare for its 2015 elections, and the NEC chairman hinted that the government might use the money to fund the biometric system.

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