HARARE, July 19 ‑ The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) says it needs US$274 million in order to fully run next year’s anticipated presidential, parliamentary and local council elections.
ZEC chairpserson Rita Makarau told a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs and Gender on Tuesday that they had made a US$274m requisition from Treasury meant for the elections and hoped the latter would fund them, as has always done in the past.
“The funding will enable ZEC to procure all election material necessary and to pay all allowances necessary to ensure not only a successful voter registration exercise, but a free and fair election,” she said.
“A consolidated budget requirement has since been submitted to Treasury for funding in the sum of $274 million, and ZEC is confident that Treasury will avail the funding as it has funded all the past elections and the acquisition of the biometric voter registration kits (BVR kits).”
A Chinese firm, Laxton Group of Companies, recently won a tender to supply BVR kits, where they reportedly charged US$4 million for the whole project.
The BVR package includes a laptop with encryptable USB ports, internal high capacity, extended life battery which lasts for a minimum of six hours before recharging, digital signature pad and pen, fingerprint scanner, ID and document scanner, digital camera, solar kits and encryptable USB flash disks that are not usable on any other media.
A 50 percent deposit of the total payment is said to have already been made and ZEC is set to set to launch a voter registration exercise targeting at least seven million potential voters.
Zimbabweans will choose a new President next, with the current one, Robert Mugabe — in power for 37 years since independence and turning 94 years next year — already announced as his party, Zanu PF’s candidate.
He will be pitting against his nemesis, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, the latter who has always challenged him since 2000, a year after the biggest opposition party’s formation.