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Tanzania Seeks New Voting Gear
Source: East African Business Week (Kampala)
Source Date: Monday, April 29, 2013
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, Institution and HR Management, Internet Governance
Country: Tanzania
Created: Apr 30, 2013

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania — The Tanzanian government is seeking financial support to buy a new biometric system (BVR) for voter registration in preparation for the 2015 General Elections.

Justice Damian Lubuva, the Chairman of the Tanzania Electoral Commission (NEC), said recently that the whole decision was made by the government the main stakeholder.

He said: "There is no need to keep the process a secret from the public. Everything will be known after we complete the whole tendering procedure."

He was reassuring the public about the transparency of the process after some quarters raised questions about possible mischief.

Justive Lubuva denied all. He said: "We are working professionally. We are here to serve Tanzanians, and not any individual or specific group."

Biometrics uses a smart card that carries the unique characteristics of an individual, usually a fingerprint, to verify that an individual is who he or she claims to be.

"Adapting a cost effective and simple technology is a good way of solving the many election-related problems plaguing many African countries," he told a news conference.

Justice Lubuva said the NEC is planning to float tenders for the acquisition of the system, and has said that the NEC will invite donors to fund the procurement and installation of the system.

Last month, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) offered $22.5 million, including technical assistance to both electoral commissions of Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar.

Canada, Denmark, the European Union, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom contributed some of this money.

The agreement establishes a three-year democratic empowerment project whose partners include UNESCO, who will extend the establishment of community radio stations for voter education and community discussions and UN women who will train women for political life.

Beneficiaries of the initiative will include Tanzania's police who will receive training on human rights, the Registrar of political parties who will conduct research on democracy in Tanzania, the Tanzania Centre for Democracy that will work with political parties and the media and other CSOs that will assist to disseminate voter education.

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