British Embassy castigates Gvt’s U-turn in BVR kits procurement

Thursday, 30 March 2017  Radio Dialogue

BULAWAYO - The British Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Catriona Laing has expressed concern over Government’s U-turn in the procurement of the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits saying if the process is not handled well, it would shadow the credibility of the 2018 polls.

In an interview in Bulawayo, Ambassador Laing said the recent change in the procurement process is a matter of concern in view of transparency issues.

“One of the issues we all concerned about is around the change in procurement process around BVR, we wait to see exactly how this is going to pan out, obviously the government is deciding the type of equipment it wants to procure for elections,” said Laing.

“We are not trying to interfere in that decision but we are concerned if the process is not transparent and inclusive, as some of the opposition parties have already raised concern. We are monitoring the situation closely.”

She said there are set AU and SADC recommendations and conditions that have to be in place in order to ensure a free and fair poll come next year.

“Reports were done by the African Union and Southern African developing Countries (SADC) following the last elections and there were a number of conditions or recommendations that the AU and SADC made,” said Laing.

She said these recommendations need to be in place for them to be confident the elections would be transparent.

“These recommendations and conditions need to be in place in order for all of us to be confident that when the elections happen, they will be free and fair and that the opposition will participate in and we can endorse,” said the ambassador.

The government recently took over the acquisition of the BVR kits, replacing the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which had stepped in because of the country’s strained resources.

The BVR kits are meant to provide a modern, transparent voter registration process and are part of the measures that are being taken to ensure fair elections.

channelZim on twitter