People of Thyolo may be deprived of their constitutional right of being recognised as citizens through the National Identity registration underway in the district, with information emerging that the registration process has been marred with a lot of challenges in the district.
A random check in several centers in the district showed that the people of Thyolo are frustrated with how National Registration Bureau (NRB) is handling the process.
For instance, a visit to Thyolo Central NRB centers found out that the biometric kit machines which were allocated in this area are not up to date, very slow in processing data and that for them to function, they have to be rebooted more than fifteen times in a day, a development that is frustrating those who want to register for a National ID for the first time or intend to renew or replace their old National ID.
As if that is not enough, some interns who are taking part in the exercise are abandoning their work stations deliberately, a development that is affecting service delivery with many centers running short of staff.
Several people who went to do ID registration in Thyolo Central expressed their dissatisfaction and called upon authorities to act on the challenges being faced.
“We are spending days coming here to have our names recorded for the National ID or to replace our expired IDs but nothing seems to work. I have been here for several occasions only to be told that the machines are not working and I cannot be registered. This is not fair as we cannot do any transaction let alone be allowed to vote in the next elections if we have an expired or do not have an ID,” lamented one old man who identified himself as Afela Kolite.
A lady by the name Agness Mwambo from Nchiramwera village said for two days, she has been going to Nachipele Center to have her ID renewed only to be told that there are no staff to operate the machine.
In an interview, one of the members of parliament in Thyolo district, Ben Malunga Phiri, said as a law marker of Thyolo Central, he will try his best to mobilise the masses in the area on the importance of taking part in the exercise on the extension of dates for the expired IDs.
“Despite the challenges that the people are facing in my area, I am calling and encouraging them to take part on the process. We all know that without National IDs nowadays, there is nothing that one can do. What is happening here is very frustrating and i want to call upon relevant authorities and stakeholders to address the situation in the area,” said Phiri.
He further said that what is happening in Thyolo can be a tip of an iceberg just that others are not following up.
An attempt to speak with relevant officials handling the exercise did not yield any positive results. As we went to press, there was no immediate comment from officials from Ministry of Homeland security and National Registration Bureau on the concerns that have been raised by people of Thyolo.