Zimbabwe ends biometric voter registration drive with over 450K new registrants
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is set to begin expunging duplicated entries from its voter database after it completed a recent biometric voter registration blitz which saw the addition of over 450,000 new names on the electoral roll.
The mobile registration drive ran concurrently with a special campaign to enroll citizens for national ID cards and birth certificates.
The voter registration exercise ended on 26 March, after the deadline was extended by five days due to technical hitches witnessed on the field by ZEC personnel.
As reports Sunday Mail, the ZEC will now focus on the deduplication exercise using its fingerprint biometrics solution to get the final number of eligible voters. Zimbabwe’s biometric voter registration system is understood to be supplied by Laxton Group.
Once the deduplication is completed, the election agency will then publish the final list of those eligible for the country’s general elections coming up either in July or August.
Authorities are hopeful the number of eligible voters after the biometric deduplication process could, for the first time, go beyond six million.
The Mail quotes the ZEC sit-in chief electoral officer Charity Ngandini as saying a total of 451,811 persons were registered as of 21 March, and a total of 191,738 were recorded during the first ten days of the process as of the same date. It is not clear how many more people were registered during the five-day deadline extension.
Ngandini warned that the number of registered voters does not necessary reflect the figure that will eventually be added to the cleaned-up voter register.
She also expressed concerns over the issue of multiple registrations as many people were said to have been turned away during the two-week registration process for trying to register more than once.
Figures from the registration blitz show Matabeleland North Province recorded the highest number of registrants with 93,275, while Bulawayo had just under 10,000 registrants.
Meanwhile, across the continent in Liberia, Monrovia Mayor and Secretary General of the Coalition for Democratic Change Jefferson T. Koijee has called for that country’s biometric voter registration exercise to be extended by at least a week, Front Page Africa reports. The official cites reports that people with Muslim names being denied the opportunity to register by NEC staff.