LILONGWE-(MaraviPost) – The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) on Wednesday disclosed that it will use the National Identity Card (ID), which the National Registration Bureau (NRB), is currently processing, for the 2019 general elections.
MEC went further and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NRB and National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE), during a high-level meeting, held in the capital Lilongwe.
The MOU formalizes the partnerships formed two years ago, when the pollster decided to adopt a biometric voter registration system for the 2019 elections.
Under this agreement, the NRB will conduct a national registration of all citizens from 16 years above by December 2017, and MEC will extrapolate registrants’ biometric information from the NRB data to develop its voters register.
Speaking after signing the MOU, MEC Chairperson Jane Ansah SC, disclosed that the national ID’s will be used for identification during voter registration, and also polling.
Ansah said the Commission will no longer use voter certificates for election purposes, but rather the national ID.
She added that the MOU signed, formalizes and records the agreement amongst institutions concerning their co-operation in undertaking joint civic education exercises.
This is also mobilization initiatives for Malawians to avail themselves and participate in the registration process as required by the law.
“The cards that are being issued by NRB will be the same cards that the MEC will use in the coming voter registration, verification, and to be used on the polling day.
“Apart from reducing the amount of money that is required to conduct an election, the decision is backed up by research conducted by a company called Africo, which recommended the use of the same data that NRB will produce at the end of the exercise,” said Ansah.
In his remarks on behalf of development partners, EU Head of Cooperation, Lluis Navarro, said the partnerships were vital to support NRB’s efforts to roll out a cost-effective, sustainable, and continuous registration of Malawians, and resident foreigners.
Navarro said that linking the ID system with health, social programmes, and the Farm Input Subsidy (FISP), and the Social Cash Transfer Process, will be critical to reap the full potential of the National IDs.
Currently, the NRB last month started the national ID registration, while NICE is conducting mass mobilization through road shows, community meetings, radio jingles, and programmes, among other activities.