The Electoral Commission of Zambia has awarded a 16 million US dollar contract to a company called Smartmatic International Holdings BV to run a Biometric Voter Registration programme ahead of the 2021 general elections.
According to a tender notice issued by the ECZ Chief Electoral Officer, another tender to supply and deliver Voter Card Forms and Pouches has been awarded to Tesla IT Business Solutions at a cost of Five Hundred -Seventy-Two Thousand One Hundred and Twelve (US$ 572,112.00.)
Smartmatic International Holdings BV will supply, deliver, install, train and commission 2,6000 Biometric Voter Registration kits and software.
The total contract sum is Sixteen Million Six Hundred Eighty-Seven Thousand Eight Hundred Ninety -Eight.
A Biometric Voter Register measures and analyses a voter’s unique physical characteristics to verify their identity and eligibility to vote and uses a voter’s physical characteristics, such as facial features or fingerprints, to identify them.
The most commonly captured attributes are facial features and fingerprints.
According to an online company search, Smartmatic International Holdings BV is a subsidiary of Smartmatic, a Netherlands-based company with presence in the US, Mexico, Venezuela and Spain.
As for Tesla IT Business Solutions, there is no information about the company’s ownership and any history of previous assignment undertaken.
In 2010, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) selected Smartmatic to provide Zambia’s first biometric voter register and the company supplied around 1,000 mobile electronic biometric registry units.
In 2015, Smartmatic also delivered 2,000 enrollment devices to enable Zambia to update its biometric voter register across all 11 provinces.
The company is however not without controversy.
It was accused of electoral fraud when it assisted the Electoral Commission of Uganda to modernize its election processes in the 2016 General Elections.
From detailed investigations, Smartmatic is yet to run an electoral process, anywhere in the world, in which fraud allegations and irregularities have not been made.
From Venezuela to the Philippines, from the USA to Mexico, it is believed that every single contract awarded to Smartmatic has been marred with allegations of bribes, and corruption.