National Registration Bureau has ruled out allowing Malawi Congress Party (MCP) experts into the pollster voter register data base, saying the opposition has the data already.
MCP politicians say they fear the data base has been manipulated to add more voters who would vote for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party DPP) presidential candidate President Peter Mutharika.
Muhabi Chisi, MEC IT expert told a news conference Tuesday in Lilongwe that its voter rolls dat is open for inspection and that the main opposition, the MCP and UTM have the data already following a court order.
“The main opposition parties have this data already in their possession following the Constitutional Court order, so there is no need to give them similar data,” he said.
But the director general of the National Registration Bureau (NRB) Macford Somanje said it would be unlawful to allow a private entity get into its data base as demanded by the MCP as that will contravene Section 44 of the National Registration Act (2010).
“We are a government entity. It is only the National Audit Office or a company certified by the National Audit Office (NAO) which can conduct audit into our data base,” he said.
He said the NAO has already certified a private company which will do the auditing exercise on the same soon.
“NRB is a government entity and all government institutions are not audited by a non authorised private firm or person,” Somanje said.
He said the procedure for government department audit is that the NAO conducts an audit on systems as well as processes and procedures for NRB.
“When that is done, they are supposed to submit the report to the Public Accounts Committee (of Parliament) and it is the duty of the Public Accounts Committee to scrutinise the recommendations done by the audit office,” he added.
He further stressed that to let MCP do an audit of a national register is “not acceptable.” Somaje said he was of the view that the Information Communication Technology (ICT) Association of Malawi has made a recommendation through a press statement that the NRB data must be audited by a private firm.
“Our response is that the Data Protection Act does not allow private individuals to look into the national register, hence we will not allow our laws to be broken.
“The only people that can access the data are the ones that have been mandated by the law, as such NRB will make sure that they do not allow the data to be available to people who are not mandated,” he said.
Somanje said NRB registers people of 16 years old and above for issuance of National ID whilst MEC registers 18 years old and above for voting purposes.
“Therefore the two separate databases cannot have the same number of records,” Somanje said in tensed tone.
He warned that unauthorised disclosure or exposure of personal details of registrants in the National ID Database contravenes both the National Registration Act (2010) as well as the E-transactions and Cyber Security Act (2016).Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :