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Government fires National Registration Bureau chief

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Government has with immediate effect terminated the contract of Chief Director of the National Registration Bureau (NRB) Mackford Somanje.

A letter signed by Chief Secretary to the Government, Zanga-Zanga Chikhosi, which we have seen, informs Somanje that his services are no longer required at NRB. It does not provide further details apart from indicating that he will get his dues.

“You will however be given three (3) months salary in lieu of notice, notwithstanding that article IX of your employment contract provides for one (1) month Salary in lieu of notice,” reads part of the letter.

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It adds that Somanje is eligible to receive 15 percent gratuity according to his employment contract.

Somanje, who was appointed to the position by the immediate-past administration, came under fire in the run-up to the June 23 court-ordered presidential election when NRB allegedly registered minors as adults in an alleged rigging scheme.

In Malawi, only those who have attained the age of 18 can register to vote in an election.

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Prior to the election, before the Supreme Court ordered that only those who had voted in the nullified poll would be allowed to cast their ballot in the fresh poll, NRB allegedly registered several minors for the national identity card a prerequisite for being registered as a voter.

A preliminary assessment by the Malawi Human Rights Commission also found that children had indeed been registered as adults in several parts of the country.

The then-Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament expressed reservations with how Somanje was doing his work and accused him of being at NRB to aid vote rigging. He dismissed the allegations.

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