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Nkhotakota councillors, parties call for extension of ID registration period

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Councillors and political party members in Nkhotakota have expressed concern over slow progress of National Identity (ID) registration underway in the district and have since called for an extension of the exercise.

Speaking during a meeting National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust held to update councillors and senior members of political parties on progress of the exercise, which began last Monday in the district, the members described the registration exercise as a “flop”.

Nice Nkhotakota District Civic Education Officer James Mumba told the meeting that a number of challenges have been experienced since the start of the exercise.

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“We have been receiving reports of breakdown of equipment from many centres. Shortage of application forms is another challenge as most centres have not been operating due to the problem. We have also received reports that some chiefs are demanding money to sign application forms,” Mumba said.

He said he had reported the concerns to responsible officials who have promised to work on them.

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Mpama Ward Councillor Gaziel Chimzere said the exercise has failed to give people hope.

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“I have visited many centres in my ward. It is sad that less than 30 people are being registered in a day. My area had 1,559 registered voters in 2014 tripartite elections and, this year, I am expecting more than that figure to register but, considering how slow the registration exercise is going, a lot of people may not be registered at the end of the registration period,” Chimzere said.

The members also blamed poor planning for the exercise as many centres are understaffed leading to long queues.

“The registration period has to be extended if it is to achieve its intended purpose because the situation does not give hope,” said Fredrick Kachembwe, MCP District Chairperson.

National Registration Bureau spokesperson Norman Fulatira said he could not comment on call for extension.

But Nkhotakota District Commissioner Felix Mkandawire said the hitches identified in most centres will be rectified and was hopeful that required people will have registered by the end of the designated period.

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