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National IDs launch shifted

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The National Registration Bureau (NRB) has postponed the launch of national identification cards (IDs) to a date to be communicated.

The event, which was supposed to take place on Wednesday, was supposed to be presided over by President Peter Mutharika.

The shift comes amid speculations in different sections of society including opposition political parties that Mutharika is unwell after returning home from the United States of America where he attended the 71st United Nations General Assembly (Unga).

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Speculations on the president’s health reached perhaps the highest point after he was seen waving his supporters and greeting dignitaries upon his arrival at Kamuzu International Airport using his left hand even though he is known to be right-handed.

But in an interview Tuesday, NRB spokesperson Norman Fulatira said the shift is due to some logistical and preparatory works that need to be completed before the launch.

Fulatira said the preparations have been affected by the Mothers’ Day holiday which was on Monday.

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“We are remaining with transport and accommodation for the invited guests that NRB works with. We must say that we were affected with the just ended holiday,” he said.

He added that currently, the institution has communicated the same to State House as it invited the president to grace the occasion.

NRB managed to register up to 5,856 Malawian citizens under a proof of concept (POC) which sampled 27 sites across 11 districts in all the three regions of the country.

The institution will also start pilot registration of about 93,000 targeted Malawians across the country before the mass registration.

The mass registration phase is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2017 which will register about 9 million Malawians who are 16 years and above.

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