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Pac tells National Registration Bureau to close loopholes in ID registration

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The quasi-religious body, Public Affairs Committee (Pac), has called on the National Registration Bureau (NRB) to close any loopholes in the mass national identification registration exercise for it to achieve efficiency and serves its purpose.

Pac feels the more transparent the system becomes, the better the 2019 tripartite elections would be.

Members of Pac Executive Committee spoke at an interface meeting they had with NRB officials and Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) officials in Lilongwe on Monday. The meeting aimed at enlightening members of Pac on technicalities involved in voters roll and the use of ID cards.

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Pac Executive Director, Robert Phiri, said the meeting came at the right time as delegates to the 5+1 All-Inclusive Conference recommended the suspension of the exercise on grounds that it may have a negative impact in the 2019 elections.

“The interface meeting was very important to Pac governance because it clarified many misconceptions in relation to the 2019 tripartite elections. Pac also encouraged NRB and Mec to ensure that such briefings are intensified so that many stakeholders should be on the same page,” Phiri said.

Mec Chairperson, Jean Mathanga, said Mec will use the national identity cards to identify voters (ID) during the 2019 polls, saying that the commission is geared to deliver a credible, free, fair and peaceful election

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“The current arrangement is that the national ID will be the preferred form of identification though not an exclusive one. Mec is aware that the current national exercise by NRB, though it is compulsory by law, may not cover everyone who will be eligible to vote in 2019. As such we will come up with measures to capture such people during the registration of voters to be conducted by Mec starting April 2018,” Mathanga said.

She, however, said registration of voters will be much easier and faster for those who will have the national ID.

“All the information required by the commission is also stored on the chip on the National ID. Using a chip reader on the handheld device we will also read all the voter information that we require. That is why Mec is encouraging every eligible Malawian to register,” she said.

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