Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Grace Chiumia says government targets nine million people in the nationwide mass registration exercise for national identity cards which rolls out today.
The exercise will be done in five phases, according to authorities.
Speaking during a joint press conference by Malawi Government and development partners in Lilongwe, the minister said the exercise—expected to be finalised in December—has been funded by government and development partners at a cost of $49 694 000 (K36.5 billion).
She said: “Government and development partners agreed to fund the project at 40 and 60 percent, respectively via the United Nations Development Programme basket fund mechanism.”
Chiumia has since urged the public to register and be identified, pleading with people to be patriotic and refrain from aiding foreigners in the exercise.
Speaking on behalf of the development partners, Irish Ambassador Aine Hearns said the project will contribute to government’s efforts to guarantee the fundamental right to identity, entitlement and enjoyment of full citizenship in Malawi.
She said: “Until 2016, Malawi was the only country within Sadc [Southern Africa Development Community] and Comesa [Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa] which had no national IDs. As the world moves towards digital identification, I would, therefore, like to encourage all eligible citizens to register.”
Prior to the exercise, temporary employees who have been recruited to undertake the exercise complained about allowance mismatch, a development the minister dismissed, saying there was poor communication and people lacked understanding.
An alleged allowance disparity saga went viral which alleged that people were supposed to be receiving K150 000 before tax, but the tables turned as the exercise drew near where the same people have been promised to receive K120 000 after 25 days.
In 2009, Parliament passed the National Registration Act, which was followed by the launch of National Identities Registration System (NRIS) in 2016.
The first phase will cover six districts in the Central Region namely Mchinji, Salima, Kasungu, Nkhotakota, Dowa and Ntchisi. n