By Levison Lester & Lesnart Kenan
Minister of Homeland Security, Ken Zikhale Ng’oma says identity cards (IDs) issued by National Registration Bureau (NRB) are not there to be used for voting purposes only.
Speaking in Parliament on Thursday, Ng’oma emphasised that the perception that IDs are only used for elections is wrong saying people use IDs for different purposes in the country.
“NRB is mandated to register people in Malawi either for birth or death and those who would want to vote for an election. NRB is an institution which was set with a purpose to ensure that every Malawian who is willing to have an ID should have it. It is an ongoing process.
“Issuing of IDs depends on people’s responses and if people are not going to register, what do you expect? So, how do you measure that the process is slow? This depends on ones’ interest. This is why I said it is a wrong perception to say that NRB is there for elections,” he said.
Zikhale Ng’oma was responding to remarks made by Member of Parliament (MP) for Thyolo South West, Chimwemwe Chipungu.
Chipungu suggested accommodating Traditional Authorities (TAs) as a centre for collecting IDs.
Ng’oma said this is a good development which government will look into.
Chipungu expressed concern that issuing of IDs is in its first phase out of six phases which, he said, is worrisome.
“I have raised these questions twice in this house regarding mass registration especially on children under 16 years of age. As you may recall, in 2021 this was launched at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) and the target was 8.4 million.
“According to the phases, the program was supposed to end in December 2023 but up to now only the first phase has been completed. We are worried and we don’t know government’s position on this,” he said.