Journalists from different media houses in the city of Mzuzu underwent a half day long training on the compulsory National Registration and Identification System (NRIS) currently underway in Malawi at Mphatso Motel.
The training was conducted by the National Registration Bureau (NRB) in partnership with the UNDP.
In his presentation, Public Relations Officer for NRB, Norman Fulatira said the National Registration Bureau was mandated by law to carry out compulsory mass registration for all Malawian citizens and that the exercise was being conducted in five phases with the Malawi Government shouldering 40% of the total cost of 50 million dollars and development partners mainly UNDP contributing the remaining 60%.
Journalists were informed that the first phase was done in Kasungu, Ntchisi, Nkhotakota, Mchinji, Dowa and Salima districts while the second phase was currently underway in Dedza, Likoma, Lilongwe and Ntcheu.
The third phase will take care of Blantyre, Chikwawa, Nsanje, Mwanza, Neno, Chiradzulu, Thyolo and Mulanje districts while Mangochi, Machinga, Zomba, Balaka and Phalombe would be in the fourth phase.
Fulatira announced that the final phase will commence in October in the districts of Mzimba, NkhataBay, Rumphi, Karonga and Chitipa and that NRB’s position was that by December 2017, every Malawian should have a National Identity Card.
It was learnt that after registering, a Malawian citizen would get their card after 60 days.
In his presentation, Muhari Chisi of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) said following a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed between NRB and MEC, MEC will be one of the beneficiaries of the National Registration and Identification System, which is biometric.
He was quick to trash fears from some quarters that MEC’s Voter Registration System for the 2019 polls using the national Identity Card would bar some voters from exercising their voting right in 2019.
Chisi added that while the National Registration and Identification System was compulsory, Voter Registration was voluntary and observed that if NRB will be through with issuing of national IDs by December 2017, then every eligible voter will have a national ID to use for Voter Registration which is the most preferred method of registering for Elections.
He clarified that the national ID will not be a Voter Certificate but will be used during registration, a move which will help government to cut huge costs because there will be no taking of photos or asking for a person’s details but a simple machine will capture the photo and all the details from the national ID within less than five minutes.
“This process is fast and will help to eliminate duplication or multiple registrations. Foreigners will have no chance of voting and age cheating will also be dealt with outright,” explained Chisi.
Speaking after the training, Public Relations Officer for NRB, Norman Fulatira, stressed that the media had a crucial role if the National Registration and Identification System was to be a success.
He added that the Bureau will also be registering births, deaths as well as marriages in the near future.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :