Written by Angella Semu

Mackford Somanje: NRB director

The National Registration Bureau (NRB) has instituted investigations to verify the validity of registration of minors allegations during the MEC Voter Registration by Temporary Registration Officers.

This has been revealed on Tuesday 19 May, 2020 during a presentation by NRB Chief Director Mackford Somanje at a press briefing in Lilongwe.

According to Somanje, NRB registers national ID for all Malawians starting from 16 years above which is different from registration that is conducted by MEC that stipulates that the eligible voting age is 18 years above.

NRB has also revealed that it is implementing an Electronic Birth Registration System (eBRS) which is a separate system from the National ID System  to register children from birth to the age of 16 for the issuance of Birth Certificates.

He said NRB system was designed to accept a maximum age of 120 years at the date of registration and acknowledged that in the system there are people whose dates of birth date back to the 1800s.

He has however said NRB has no grounds to reject the registration of the elderly if they meet all
the verification requirements which makes it valid for those who registered in 2017 to be born in 1897.

NRB has also admitted to experiencing some challenges in the database such as incorrect details of registrants and it has disclosed that currently the bureau is in process of adjusting these details.

Somanje has, however, condemned disclosure of personal data on the NRB database, an apparent reference to what Malawi Congress Party (MCP) IT expert Daudi Suleman did weeks ago at a press briefing organized by the party.

 He said Suleiman’s conduct contravenes Section 44 of the National Registration Act (2010) and it is punishable by law as it attracts a fine of K2,000,000 and five years imprisonment.

He has also said NRB will not allow MCP to audit its data as it is against the Act that guides its operations.

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