The Information and Communications Technology Association of Malawi (Ictam) has challenged government to clean up the National Registration Bureau (NRB) system to avoid a data mess within government systems.
Ictam president Bram Fudzulani said this in an interview yesterday in reaction to Malawi Electoral Commission’s (MEC) statement showing that NRB has quarantined 53 new registrants in Lilongwe North East Constituency on suspicion that they are minors.
The statement, signed by MEC chief elections officer Sam Alfandika issued on Sunday, states that despite the 53 new registrants being issued with voter certificates, they will not vote in today’s by-elections.
MEC is today holding by-elections in Lilongwe North East Constituency, Karonga Central Constituency and Makhuwira South Ward in Chikwawa.
But Fudzulani yesterday urged the new administration to conduct an independent audit at NRB to clean up the system, saying such anomalies have the potential to compromise government systems.
He said: “As the government is geared to clear out the rubble, they should not forget systems are part and parcel of such mess that cause misinformation and misrepresentation of data in many aspects within government departments.”
Fudzulani, therefore, said it is important that such an exercise be conducted at the soonest time possible.
Following NRB’s decision to quarantine the new registrants, MEC in the statement has allayed fears that the quarantined registrants will vote as their names have been put in an exceptions report.
Reads the statement in part: “Their names have not been added to the voters’ register and will appear in the Exceptions Report, appended to the voters register. The Exceptions Report bears the details of the quarantined names, including photographs.”
According to the statement, NRB has quarantined 33 of the new registrants at Chimimba School, four at Mpondamwala School, three at Mbewa and Tonde schools and one each at Majiga, Kalama, Buwa, Malembo, Zokoto and Dzuwa schools, respectively.
The statement also indicates that for today’s by-elections, MEC has registered a total of 93 534 voters out of which 2 756 are new registrants.