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MEC to use National IDs for 2019 polls

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The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) will use the National Identity Cards, issued by the National Registration Bureau (NRB), in its various stages of 2019 Tripartite Elections preparations.

Malawi National ID sample Malawi National ID sample
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May

The two institutions have since signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) enabling MEC to use biometric ID cards by NRB as primary identification when conducting voter registration for the 2019 polls.


According to the MoU, signed by MEC chairperson, Dr Jane Ansah and Chief Director for NRB, Tresphore Kang’ombe, MEC will also draw upon the National ID cards to develop a voters’ identity as a way of ensuring that there is no duplication and multiple entries.


Further, the ID cards will be as a proof of identity against the voters’ roll on elections day.


Speaking during the signing ceremony, which took place on Tuesday in Lilongwe, MEC Chairperson Jane Ansah said the collaboration between her Commission and NRB would go a long way in ensuring that the 2019 elections are a success.


“It has been concluded that a biometric voter registration system will eliminate incidences of multiple registration as well.  The National Identity Card will provide the basis for an individual to prove identity and eligibility for voter registration and polling.  


“We are grateful that UNDP hired a consultant, Africore, to conduct a feasibility study on implementation of the biometric voter registration system. The consultant recommended that MEC should work in collaboration with the National Registration Bureau (NRB) in coming up with a reliable National Population Register from which the MEC would then extract its voters’ register.  This leads to the achievement of One person-One Identity and One vote,” said Ansah.


Taking his turn, NRB’s Chief Director Tresphore Kang’ombe said the Bureau was hopeful that MEC will equally find the National Identity Cards vital in the electoral process data management.


“We hope MEC will use the cards to realise the  concept of ‘one person, one identity and one vote,” said Kang’ombe.


Speaking on behalf of Development Partners, European Union Head of Cooperation Luis Navaro said the partnership was essential as it was supporting and complementing NRB's efforts to roll out a cost effective, sustainable and continuous registration of Malawians and resident foreigners.


“The partnership is also turning the national IDs into a vehicle for multiple important uses, like voter registration. These National Identity Cards have immense potential. But realizing all their benefits will require that they can be used for a wide range of purposes. NRB and MEC are in this regard paving the way today. I hope that other institutions and programmes will follow suit by creating their own linkages with the ID system. Indeed, linkages between the ID system and programmes like FISP, Health programmes or various Social Protection Programmes like the Social Cash Transfers, will be critical to reap the full potential of National IDs. Such linkages will be critical if we are to turn the National IDs into a tool for improved service delivery, better targeting and more cost- effective interventions across the board. The ID system can for instance also significantly help the banking sector provide services to more Malawians, or the public sector to better manage pay rolls. These are just a few of many areas were IDs can make a difference and I look forward to other institutions also integrating the use of IDs in their operations,” said Navaro.


At the function, the two institutions also signed an Mou with the National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) formalizing their co-orperation in undertaking joint civic education and mobilization initiatives for Malawians to avail themselves in the registrations.


The National Registration Bureau was created in in 2003 as a Government  Department. And in 2010 the National Registration ACT was enacted by the Malawi Parliament.

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