CHRISTIAN Churches Monitoring Group (CCMG) chairperson Fr Cleophas Lungu says the Ministry of Home Affairs should provide comprehensive information to the public on the issuance of National Registration Cards (NRCs).
In a statement, Wednesday, Fr Lungu stated that the Ministry should release a schedule for the nationwide NRCs issuance, including locations and procedures, to build confidence in the process among all interested parties.
“Amid continued reports of unannounced mobile NRC issuance activities from its observers, the CCMG, again, calls on the Ministry of Home Affairs to provide stakeholders and the public with comprehensive information on current mobile NRC issuance activities. In addition, CCMG urges the Ministry to release a detailed plan, including procedures, locations and schedules, for the announced nationwide mobile NRC issuance exercise beginning in August, 2020, in order to build confidence among the public in the fairness of the process,” Fr Lungu stated.
He asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to treat the concern as an urgent matter as it would allow the public to participate in the process.
“CCMG remains concerned about the lack of any publicly available schedule for the nationwide mobile NRC issuance exercise announced for August. Given that voter registration is slated for October, it is urgent that the Ministry of Home Affairs release its schedule for mobile NRC issuance to ensure that the public can participate in the process and receive their NRCs before voter registration, and for stakeholders to participate in raising awareness. CCMG has requested previously that the Ministry share its nationwide plan and the matter is only more urgent now due to the imminent start of the exercise,” Fr Lungu stated.
He expressed concern that reports of unannounced mobile NRC issuance activities were increasing by the day.
“CCMG’s observers have reported 54 instances of unannounced mobile NRC issuance activities since November, 2019. These include 13 instances in Eastern; 16 instances in Luapula; one instance in Lusaka; five instances in Muchinga; 13 instances in Northern and six instances in North-Western. After a lull in April and May when the COVID-19 mitigation measures were more restrictive, instances of unannounced mobile NRC issuance activities increased in June and are at their highest level thus far in July, with a total of 10 instances taking place in Eastern, Luapula, Muchinga and Northern provinces. CCMG remains concerned that the lack of public information on unannounced mobile NRC issuance activities creates the perception of an unfair process and so could damage public confidence in the electoral process,” stated Fr Lungu.
“The Minister of Home Affairs has stated there are some mobile NRC issuance activities underway already, but the Ministry has failed to provide the locations targeted or the schedule for these activities. As having an NRC is critical for registering to vote, CCMG is concerned at the lack of information on the issuance activities taking place since November, 2019. We call on the Ministry to release information immediately to the public about these activities.”