INEC unveils upgraded BVR kits for smooth register update

TANZANIA: THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said on Friday that the exercise of updating the Permanent Voters’ Register (PVR) will kick off next month with the use of upgraded Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits for efficient execution of the project.

The updating exercise is set to be launched by Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa in Kigoma on July 1, this year. Officiating at the INEC and political parties’ leaders meeting, INEC Chairman Judge Jacobs Mwambegele said the improved kits, which are expected to be used during the exercise have been reduced in weight from 35 to 18 kilogrammes.

He said with reduced weight, the new BVR kits will simplify the PVR updating exercise particularly in remote areas since the operators will be able to carry the equipment over long distances without any problem.

Judge Mwambegele said the improvement has also considered the application of modern technology and that they expect the updating to take short time.

The meeting that attracted INEC officials and leaders of political parties was aimed at sharing various preparatory information ahead of the updating of the permanent voter register exercise.

INEC Chairman informed leaders of political parties that with upgraded technology, voters will be able to initiate the information updating process by using their own mobile phones.

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“INEC has improved the Voters Registration System (VRS) and that for the first time the system will enable voters on the register to self-initiate the process of updating information through gadgets such as cellular phone and computer,” Judge Mwambegele said.

Coupled with that, he added that the online system (VRS) will also enable voters to self-change a station through gadgets then later visit the station they intend to register to collect voter’s cards.

According to him, the VRS has been designed to align with the current design of BVR kits that use Android software, unlike the previous that used Microsoft Windows software.

Meanwhile, Judge Mwambegele said that the commission has come up with a procedure to serve people with disabilities, pregnant women, the elderly, and the sick, saying such groups will be given priority during the exercise.

He further called upon political parties across the country to utilise their platforms to encourage their members and followers to turn out in big numbers to register and update their information.

“It is important to understand that the updating process will apply to every citizen eligible to be registered as a voter, we are therefore asking you to pass this information and encourage your members to register and update their information ready for voting,” he asserted.

For his part, INEC Director, Ramadhan Kailima said more than five million new voters across the country are expected to be registered in the PVR. According to him, after the update, the permanent voter’s register is expected to have a total of 34,746,638 voters.

“A total of 5,586,433 new voters equivalent to 18.7 per cent of 29,754,699 voters existing in current register after the update made in 2019/2020, are expected to be added in the document” he pointed out.

However, Mr Kailima added that as 4,369,531 voters are expected to update their information at least 594,494 are anticipated to be deleted for not having the qualifications to remain in the register.

Mr Kailima said that this year’s exercise will entail a total of 40,126 registration centres, with 39,709 located in mainland Tanzania and 417 in Zanzibar.

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