The Herald (Zimbabwe)

Biometric voter registrati­on equipment stolen


DAR ES SALAAM. — Unknown people in Tanzania’s northern district of Arumeru in Arusha region have stolen facilities for biometric registrati­on of national identifica­tion cards, including two cameras and three computers, a senior official said on Monday.

Jerry Muro, Arumeru district commission­er, said the facilities belonging to the National Identifica­tion Authority (NIDA) were stolen on Sunday night. “The theft of NIDA facilities is still a mystery because there was no burglary reported in an office that the facilities were kept,” Muro told a news conference in Arumeru district.

He said police were holding one guard of the office and an office attendant for questionin­g, warning that culprits will face the full force of the law. “Defence and security organs have joined forensic experts to investigat­e the baffling theft of the facilities,” the official added. The theft of the national IDs biometric registrati­on facilities could affect biometric registrati­on of phone users’ SIM cards which requires one to have a national ID number.

Last week, Tanzanian President John Magufuli ( pictured right) extended the deadline for biometric registrati­on of phone users’ SIM cards for 20 more days beyond the earlier deadline of December 31 set by the East African nation’s communicat­ion watchdog.

Speaking shortly after he had biometrica­lly registered his phone SIM card in his native town of Chato in the northwest region of

Geita, Magufuli said the extension was intended to give chance to people who failed to register on various reasons. A statement by the Directorat­e of Presidenti­al Communicat­ion at State House said the president insisted that there will not be further extension after January 20, 2020.

According to the statement, Magufuli said those who will fail to register during the extension period should not blame the Tanzania Communicat­ions Regulatory Authority (TCRA) for locking out phone users. On December 13, 2019, TCRA said in a statement that at least 21,7 million phone users were yet to be registered biometrica­lly as the countdown to the December 31 deadline loomed.

The statement said only 42 percent of SIM cards in operation have been registered. In May this year, the TCRA directed that owners of all SIM cards to biometrica­lly register their lines by the end of the year. It said the move was aimed at getting rid of dishonest telephone line users, controllin­g cybercrime and protecting Tanzanians against those abusing the telecom sector.

The registrati­on of SIM cards is mandatory under the Electronic­s and Postal Communicat­ions Act of 2010, and, under this law it is an offence to sell or distribute an unregister­ed SIM card, to use an unregister­ed SIM card, to fail to record sale of a SIM card and to provide false informatio­n or statement during registrati­on. — Xinhua.

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