Malawi to start second phase of registration for National IDs

The second phase for the national registration exercise which will lead to the issuance of National Identity Cards for registered Malawians will start soon in Blantyre.

Assistant District Registrar for Blantyre, George Chitsonga, said the second phase which would involve taking finger prints as one of the steps in the process and the issuing of National Identity Cards would start anytime shortly.

However Chitsonga could not disclose the exact date for the commencement of the registration exercise.

“We will soon start issuing National Identity Cards and take fingerprints for the people who have registered because we want by next year, every Malawian should have an ID,” he said.

“National registration officials will begin issuing National Identity Cards and birth certificates, later marriage and death certificates,” he added.

He said children with less than 16 years would have birth certificates and conversely, those above this age would have National Identity Cards

He said the IDs would include national security features which would not be tampered with adding that the cards would surpass passport with regards to security measures.

“In near the future,  it will be a must that every Malawian should have an Identity Card without which such a person would be brought before the law, fined K1 million and also sentenced to five months imprisonment with hard labour (IHL),” he said.

Chitsonga said, National Identity Cards would not only provide positive identification of an individual but also help in accessing loans in the banks and other essential matters.

He said in the meantime, many people are said to have registered. However, Chitsonga could not disclose the number of people who have been recorded.

“As of now, I can not tell you the total number of people who have registered but this is an on-going exercise,” he said

He appealed to some of the people who are currently staying in the commercial business district (CBD) of Blantyre to go and register in their respective villages.

The director of the National Registration Bureau (NRB) Peter Chitedze said the National ID will achieve social and economic development of the country.

“Government will be able to plan and distribute development accordingly using the identity cards which will be issued to individuals,” he said.

This is the first time Malawians will have the national identity cards.

The project has faced some problems to roll our.  In 2000, the High Court ordered government to halt plans to engage Secucom Holdings International of Switzerland in a controversial 26-million-US-dollar national identity card contract.

The Swiss company sued Malawi’s corruption-busting body – the Anti-Corruption Bureau – after the bureau had instituted a corruption probe into how the tender was awarded.

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