The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has defended its Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) saying that it was able to pick up that some people had registered multiple times at different locations. Zec dismissed allegations that there are at least 250 000 ghost voters and said that in some cases people have the same name and same date of birth but different national identification numbers. In a statement, Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba said,
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The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission would like to dismiss as false recent media reports that there are 250 000 ghost voters on the voters’ roll.
In one of the two cases cited by a local daily, the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) picked that Chikondowa Varaidzo registered three times giving three different places of residence. In the first entry, she registered on 15 December 2017 and was allocated Chirovakamwe A Primary’ School polling station in Ward 15 of Mutare Municipality. On 29 May 2018, she again registered giving proof of residence close to Mutare Junior School polling station in Ward 11. Her third registration was on 31 May 2018 where she was allocated a polling station at Hillside Sports Club in Ward 12 of Mutare Municipality. Her entries recorded on 15 December 2017 and 31 May 2018 have been removed from the final voters’ roll leaving the 29 May 2018 record only. Her records that were removed from the roll will be on the exclusion lists for Chirovakamwe A Primary School polling station and Hillside Sports Club polling station.
Contrary to the press report which alleged that the AFIS system was not reliable, it should be noted that the above anomaly and numerous others were identified by this technology which has assisted the Commission to produce a clean voters’ roll.
In the second case, the daily alleged that one person by the name Miria Gondo registered to vote twice at Chikuku Primary School in Bikita and at Boora Primary School also in Bikita in Masvingo. Although records on the voters’ roll show that both entries show the same name and date of birth, the ID numbers have different suffixes. The photographs and fingerprints of the two entries are also different proving that these are two different people who could not be identified by the AFIS technology as one person because their biometrics are different.
The newspaper has failed to produce a list of entries amounting to the alleged 250 000 ghost voters hence such allegations must be dismissed with the contempt they deserve. ZEC would also like to dismiss as false allegations by the same daily that the electoral management body gave a local political party registered voters’ phone numbers to assist that party to disseminate campaign messages. The Commission would like to assure the public that details on the voters’ roll are for use by the Commission only and no one else.
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