The Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, Grace Chiumia, on Saturday clarified misconceptions surrounding the ongoing mass registration exercise regarding the National Identification Card Program.
Word on the street, especially among opposition political parties, is that Government wants to use the identity cards to rig the 2019 general elections.
Chiumia was speaking in Blantyre when she presided over an interface meeting with members of the Blantyre Press Club (BPC), organised by the National Registration Bureau (NRB), to orient journalists on the ongoing mass registration exercise.
She said the cards are meant to identify eligible Malawians to participate in all aspects of national development.
“I am impressed with the way many Malawians are patronizing the registration centres, which is good for the success of the exercise. However, I must clarify that these cards are not, in anyway meant to rig the 2019 elections as some sectors of society are speculating,” she said.
Chiumia said tight security measures were instituted to combat any malpractice that may interfere with the exercise.
“Among other security measures, we are encouraging people to bring authentic identification and if they do not have valid identification documents, they should make sure that they provide at least two witnesses.
This is important, since registration officers will be assured that they have registered only eligible Malawians,” she said.
The third phase of the exercise, which started on July 13, is currently being implemented in seven districts.
According to the Nation Registration Bureau Public Relations Officer (PRO) Norman Fulatira, the last phase of the national mass registration exercise, is expected to end in November this year.
Fulatira added that NRB will soon deploy machines in all the country’s major hospitals to register newly born babies as part of the exercise.