Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has written National Registration Bureau (NRB), expressing its concerns with what it calls malpractices associated with the national registration exercise.
In the letter which we have seen, HRDC says it has received reports and observed that there are registration malpractices that border on either illegality or sheer partisanship on the part of NRB in the exercise.
HRDC says if the malpractices remain unchecked, the integrity of the country’s national identification and registration system and, by extension, the credibility of elections will be compromised.
Among other malpractices, the coalition queries reports that NRB is allowing children below the age of 18 to register as 18-year-old apparently to enable them register as voters ahead of the fresh presidential election.
“What measures have been put in place to make sure that legal requirements for someone to register are met? Has there been any legal recourse taken on those that have breached the legal requirements as required by the law?” reads in part the letter signed by HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence and other leaders.
It also queries claims that the bureau is registering foreigners especially from Mozambique, positioning them to register as voters ahead of the election.
HRDC also demands an explanation on what the bureau is doing on reports that some people are going about enticing unsuspecting Malawians to buy their national IDs.
“How true are the allegations that that some political parties want to rig elections through buying of national registrations cards? What has NRB done so far through working with the Malawi Police to get to the bottom of this syndicate,” the letter adds.
But NRB spokesperson Norman Fulatira said he cannot comment on the letter, saying the bureau has not officially received it.