Zimbabweans urged to register under new biometric voters’ roll to be used in 2018 elections

Nigel Gambanga Avatar

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has urged all citizens to turn up for voter registration in 2017 as the country adopts a new biometric voters’ roll.

Rita Makarau, the chairperson of ZEC reportedly emphasised how the voters’ roll for the 2018 elections would not make any reference to the system used in the 2013 elections since the old system did not use biometrics.

The new biometric voters’ roll will capture a voter’s image (the face) and fingerprints as part of core features to identify someone.

ZEC is currently mapping out polling stations which will be used as centres not only for voting but for registration as well. Each citizen will be registered to a single polling station and their name will feature on that single polling station.

Registration is expected to start in May 2017 and last until the end of the year. In the lead up to the registration, ZEC will be working on the procurement of the system.

Earlier reports have indicated that the system will cost approximately $55 million. The government is anticipating that this system will increase transparency and accuracy with voters and elections as one of the issues plaguing past elections were ghost voters.

Biometric registration has however also come under scrutiny for cases of malfunctions associated with fingerprint readers that fail to work (in Nigeria even the President was affected by this) during elections (in some cases voters were urged to wash their hands before using the system) plus technical issues related to power supply.

image credit – VOA Zimbabwe


  1. Anthony Somerset

    They must make sure to capture all fingerprints against one person, otherwise 1 person could vote 10 times (20 if you want to include toes!) if they only register one digit per person!

    1. Macd Chip

      If they can have both irish and finger print scanner at the voting booth, that will do away with all those issues. But like someone said, it does not matter who voted, what matters is who count the votes.

  2. Macd Chip

    Nigel, instead of repeating what we already know from non-tech publishers, give us more infor on what it means to be biometric registered. l looked at one of your statement and thought ”Aaah we are already doing that via chitupa”:

    ”…The new biometric voters’ roll will capture a voter’s image (the face) and fingerprints as p[art of core features to identify someone….”

    That statement alone make me wonder why bother, whats new about it to sanction such action?

    1. Nigel Gambanga

      I tried to make it a simple as possible. Which part of the article didn’t you understand?

      1. Macd Chip

        Its not what l did not understand, its what you left out to simplify your story.

        Are you sure biometric is about your facial picture and a scan of your fingerprints?

        1. Nigel Gambanga

          To register and identify the voter this system relies on image and fingerprint identification matched to other identification details. For the registration process, a person’s fingerprints are scanned and a photograph of the person registering is taken.
          Yes, the recordings of those two features (fingerprinting and image/facial recognition) are used for biometric systems.
          I hope that simplifies it for you.

          1. Macd Chip

            I already have a biometric id card so lm clear what it is all about! I was just questioning the way you wrote, those who doesnt know about it are not going to gain much from your article or how it is different from any other id. How it can be used and what infrastructure is needed to run it successfully

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