European Union (EU) has emphasised the need for collective efforts in the implementation of the National Registration and Identification System (NRIS) project.
Head of cooperation in the EU delegation Luis Navarro made the remarks in Lilongwe during the signing of memoranda of understanding (MoUs) between National Registration Bureau (NRB) and Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE).
Navarro said since national identification project was relatively new to the country, it is imperative that various players should assume a role in creating awareness among citizens about the importance and benefits accruing from nationality cards.
He said the agreement between NRB and MEC will give the latter the opportunity to extract the voter registry from the civil registry undertaken by the NRB thereby avoiding stand alone and costly voter registration exercises in the future.
On the other hand, the NICE-NRB partnership will ensure a continuous and massive nationwide civic education exercise to mobilise eligible citizens of 16 years of age and above to register for a national ID card.
He said: “EU therefore commends NRB for choosing to partner and work with MEC and NICE. We are fully aware that NICE has a very nice track record in providing civic education and mobilising people to participate in various issues. We believe its partnership with NRB will make a significant difference to the registration project.”
NICE board chairperson Susan Kaunda assured EU of her organisation’s commitment to mounting a successful civic education and mass mobilisation campaign through use of its vast experience, expansive and established structures nationwide.
Kaunda also assured EU that the financial resources it (EU) has provided for civic education will be used for the intended purpose.
“As for NRB and Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security, you are rest assured that we are in this noble cause together and we will realise the objectives set out in the MoUs in order for the bureau to effectively and efficiently achieve its mandate,” she stressed.
In her remarks, MEC chairperson Jane Ansah said the registration exercise had come at the right time when the Commission is searching for alternative and efficient system of voter registration that could deal with problems surrounding voter registration and identification.
Ansah expressed hope that the national identity cards will prevent possibilities of inclusion or exclusion errors, as it will ensure the voter’s identity is based on a unique national ID, underscoring: one person, one identity, one vote.
NRB chief director Tresphore Kang’ombe assured stakeholders and development partners that the bureau will work hard to ensure a successful registration exercise.