Mzuzu, July 25: National Registration Bureau (NRB) is advising Malawians living in Diaspora to take advantage of the current mass registration to come home and register in order to acquire national identity cards (IDs).
NRB Public Relations Officer (PRO), Norman Fulatira gave the advice Saturday in Mzuzu during an orientation workshop for journalist on the mass registration exercise currently underway in the country.
He said although the bureau recognizes the importance of having registration points in other countries for the sake of people living in Diaspora, it has not opened offices due to insufficient funds.
“As much as we plan to have offices abroad for the National ID registration exercise, it is something that will happen in the future. This is why we urge them to register whenever they get an opportunity to visit the country,” he said.
Fulatira said Malawians in Diaspora should see the exercise as something of paramount importance because in the near future, national IDs will become the only valid proof of nationality.
He encouraged them to register their children or relatives under the age of 16 living with them abroad so that they are legally recognized as Malawian citizens.
“There’s a possibility that in the near future, national IDs will be the only valid proof for nationality hence the need for them to register so that they and their siblings do not miss out on some privileges coming with it.
“For example, if the ministry of health decides to offer subsidized health services to Malawians, only those with national IDs and new birth certificates will be acknowledged,” the PRO disclosed.
Malawi Electrical Commission Director of Information and Communication Technology, Muhabi Chisi said it is a must for every Malawian to get a national ID card because it is one of the tools that the commission will use to identify people who register for general elections.
“For example, we will be starting voter registration soon in readiness for 2019 general elections and a national ID card will be the more preferable source of identification. This means that any Malawian without the ID in the near future may not be able to get registered for the voting exercise,” he outlined.
Chisi added that the commission is already in an agreement with NRB to ensure that all eligible voters have an ID card before voter registration starts in April 2018.
The Mass registration which is underway in some districts in the country is expected to be completed by December, 2017 and every registrant is expected to renew the ID card after every 10 years.
A side national IDs, the NRB is requesting for registration of birth and death certificates for all Malawians.