Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) said the national identification card exercise which has been put as a prerequisite for one to be eligible to vote in the 2019 Tripartite Elections.the national must be suspended claiming it is the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government tool to rig elections in 2019.
The MPs said this on Thursday in Parliament after forcing an adjournment on the matter.
The matter was raised by Kasungu central legislature Amon Nkhata who proposed that the IDs should not be used as a voting cards in 2019 general elections.
Speaking on Standing Order 14 on issues of national importance, Nkhata asked the Minister of Home Affairs to clarify why registration officials were sending pople back because a quota was reached for the day.
“There are irregularities in Kasungu at Boma School where there was inadequate stationery and there are reports that workers are demanding a fee from people to process the registration,” he said.
Nkhata further said the process is taking three days before a card is printed.
He said there was a possibility that some people would not come back to collect their cards.
“This is why we see it as a rigging process. If people were aware that their names were being registered for election purposes as well, they would register en masse,” Nkhata said.
Lilongwe North MP Patricia Mkanda (MCP) urged the authorities to suspend the registration because of the challenges.
She argued that starting the registration in the Central Region would mean that those aged below 16 in the region would not be registered while those in Northern and Southern regions would be registered because they will have turned 16 by November.
Dowa West MP Alexander Kusamba Dzonzi (MCP) said the registration age should be reduced to 14 because these would be aged 16 by 2019.
According to the MP, there are concerns of poor public awareness, no forms for others , poor planning and faulty equipment.
“If the exercise faces such kind of problems, how do you expect that the elections will be fare?,” he wondered.
Mchinji west MP Jephter Mwale said “as in my area, all the computers are not functioning. This means that many people in most areas in the central will not registered than in other regions.”
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) chief whip Lobin Lowe wondered why the Malawi Electoral Chairperson disclosed to Malawians that the IDs will be used in 2019 elections some weeks after the exercise started.
Mzimba south west legislature Khumbo Kachali asked the minister of civic education to say if there is a plan to use the IDs in 2019 elections.
In her response, Minister of civic education Cecelia Chazama admitted that MEC signed the memorandum of understand with her ministry and National Registration Bureau (NRB) on 31 May, 2017.
Leader of opposition who is also MCP President Lazarus Chakwera asked the house to come up, with a committee that will be mandated to monitor the whole process.
The government side was just silent during the discussion.
Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Grace Chiumia conceded that challenges were being experienced in the exercise such as the breaking down of equipment.
On people being sent back, Chiumia said there was a cut off number of 80 a day to allow registration personnel capture data accurately.
However, she said the ruling DPP has no plan to rig 2019 general elections using the process.
The project has been funded by the Malawi Government and development partners to the tune of $49 694 000 (about K36.5 billion). Currently, over 100 000 people have been recorded to have been registered with the registration process expected to end in December.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :