Logistical hiccups have marred the first phase of the national registration and identification system (NRIS) project currently underway in Mchinji, but which will cover the whole country.
National Registration Bureau (NRB) Mchinji district officer Allan Mwabumba and his National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust counterpart Paul Kanyenda as well as other stakeholders, including chiefs, confirmed the development in separate telephone interviews yesterday.
Mwabumba said, among others, that some of the centres did not open at all as registration staff were protesting delays by the bureau to pay them.
He said: “What you have heard is true. We have a number of centres that have not opened because some of the officers have not reported for duties. But I believe that the secretariat is working towards deploying them.”
Traditional Authority Kazyozyo of Mchinji said none of the centres in his jurisdiction have opened.
The chief said he had since told his subjects to go home and that he would only mobilise them again after government rectifies the problems.
“I have told them to go and return only after government has rectified the problem,” he said.
Nice’s Kanyenda feared this would demoralise people.
“We appeal to the authorities to hasten in addressing these problems to ensure smooth a registration exercise,” he said.
NRB spokesperson Norman Fulatira could not be reached for a comment yesterday, but in an earlier interview on Tuesday, he assured that everything was in place.
He said: “As I respond to your questions, everything is okay. As NRB, we have not heard anything to the contrary. No withdrawals have been reported to us [NRB].”
The disgruntled supervisors and officers told The Nation in an earlier interview that they would do anything possible to force the bureau to address their grievances on payments.
They are, among others, expressing discontent with the lump sum pay-out in arrears of K150 000 and K120 000, respectively, to cover accommodation, food, transport and a five percent gratuity less any applicable income tax.
They accused the bureau of taking advantage of their plight to exploit them. n