Civic education experts are warning Malawians against aiding foreigners to get national IDs as the exercise gets underway Wednesday. Foreigners from Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, Somalia among others have settled in most districts and speak local dialects.
According to Nyasa Times, Paul Kanyenda, National Institute for Civic Education (NICE) district coordinator for Mchinji said the punishment for helping a foreigner get a National Identity card is five years imprisonment with hard labour and one million fine Kwacha(local currency).
“Some Malawians have just a tendency of helping foreigners get things they are not allowed to get, so this is just a warning to them,” he said.
Mchinji, a vibrant border agro-business district is one of the few districts starting the national IDs registration this Wednesday.
Other districts to start registration include Ntchisi, Nkhotakota, Dowa and Salima.
NRB public relations officer Norman Fulatira urged Malawians aged 16 and above to register as it is a criminal offence to overlook the exercise which will enable Malawians have national ID for the first time in history.
“Any Malawian citizen above the age of 16 is eligible to register for the ID. In fact every Malawian citizen is by law required to register,” Fulatira said.
He said the national ID would help bonafides citizens be recognised during voting, checkpoints and to be easily identified in the eventuality of accidents.
Fulatira also said it would help them most importantly in access of social services such as health and education, social protection services such as social cash transfer and banking services.
The expiry date of the cards is 10 years however because of the 2019 General Elections it will be issued between 3 to 10 years to avoid a lot of people coming for replacement in 2027. Meanwhile NRB has recruited 4,200 registration officers and supervisors to carry out the exercise which will be done in five phases.
The refugee population in Malawi is relatively stable. At the end of December 2014 the number of Persons of Concern (refugees and asylum seekers) in Malawi totaled 20,398 of whom 47% are females and 53% are males. The refugees originate from 9 different countries, mainly in the Great Lakes Region. Apart from 61 Somalis, and 43 from various other countries, all the rest are from Rwanda, Burundi and DRC.
Jean Baptiste Karegeya