Refugees and asylum seekers residing at Dzaleka in Dowa and Luwani in Mwanza will not register their sim cards in the ongoing registration exercise since they do not have national identity cards.
During a sensitization meeting on the sim card registration exercise, representatives from Airtel Malawi and TNM made it clear that refugees will not register and there is probability that their phones will be disconnected from the networks once the sim registration exercise ends.
The Dzaleka camp in Dowa hosts about 30,000 refugees and some of the refugees use mobile phones.
Airtel’s zonal business manager for Dowa, Ntchisi and Salima Mick Makawa and Tnm’s business development officer for Dowa and Ntchisi George Lupembe said government has come up with a national standard ID to be used by the service providers during sim registration exercise hence those who do not have national IDs will not have their sim cards registered.
Makawa also noted that most Malawians do not possess valid documents such as driving licences and passports for identification.
He said citizens who do not have national IDs are registering their sim cards using voter registration cards of the 2014 elections but after December, 31st, this year they will be called again to update their details using national IDs.
He added that children under the age of 16 will be registered using details of their parents or guardians, just the same as with government officers who are using office phones.
Sim card registration helps law enforcers to track down criminals who use more than one number for illegal businesses and to curb incidents such as loss of phones through theft, hate text messages, threats or incitement of violence.
In his remarks, Executive Director for the Forum for National Development, Bright Kampaundi, said his organisation forms partnerships with Macra and other CSOs in bringing accountability as they have an obligation of clarifying issues that are affecting the minds of the society at large.
Kampaundi urged Malawians to accept the sim card registration exercise if they are to use their phones saying all the misconceptions which some people are claiming on the exercise have no basis.
He, therefore, warned Tnm and Airtel agents who are registering people not to demand money from subscribers for photocopying of IDs, saying the two companies had already agreed with their agents on the mode of re-imbursements for the money spent on photocopies.