HOME Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo has asked Zambians not to judge former Education Minister David Mabumba but pray for him, saying being a leader doesn’t mean one has turned into an angel who cannot sin.

And Kampyongo says Zambia will completely migrate to digital issuance of National Registration Cards (NRCs) in 2021, in accordance with the Smart Zambia agenda.

Speaking when he featured on K-FM radio in Mansa, Saturday evening, Kampyongo asked callers who were condemning Mabumba for being involved in the production of obscene material to remember that all humans were sinners who needed forgiveness from God.

“It is said that ‘to err is human and to forgive is divine’, that is the reason we even go to church to repent and pray because we are all sinners. But when we are chosen or appointed as leaders, we know that the burden we carry is heavy because you have to be a good example when you are a leader and leave behind some of the things that you used to be when you were just an ordinary citizen. But that doesn’t mean that we have become angels. We all know how we have been created by God. So for me as Stephen Kampyongo, Honourable Mabumba is someone I have worked with for a very long time and I respect him so much and I am sure even the people that elected him respect him so much. Even when that , it was so unbelievable. But all I can say is that when such things happen to people, we need to put them in prayer and not condemn them,” Kampyongo said.

“I want to believe that is the reason why the President also acted the way he did because he’s the one who gives us opportunities to serve in government. But when he notices a problem that affects one’s duties, he reserves the authority to relieve someone of their duties. Therefore, let us not judge because it is God who knows all of us personally. There are a lot of wrong things we do in privacy which only God sees, and that is the reason why we always pray and repent to our God.”

And Kampyongo said the issuance of NRCs after 2021 would fully migrate to digital systems.

“What that entails is that all the files that are domiciled in all the districts where registration has been taking place since 1994 will be migrated to digital platforms and citizens will be required to go and update their files by adding biometric requirements and other features such as picking the special features of your eyes, your finger prints and the necessary biometric data that will be picked to be added to your already existing details and now these will be on digital framework and consequently, you will have a digitalised identity card issued to you. This will lessen these challenges of finding someone with another NRC where we have to deal with so many cases of people coming to complain that another person has a similar national ID as themselves and all those things. So this migration will help resolve those issues and it is in line with the President’s call to embark on smart Zambia. When the President was announcing smart Zambia it’s like people didn’t understand what that entailed, what it entailed was to also move like other nations in terms of how to identify citizens,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kampyongo, who flagged off the mobile NRC issuance exercise in Mwense district of Luapula Province on Saturday, announced that the first phase of the exercise would run up to the second week of September this year.

And during Radio Phoenix’s Let the People Talk programme, Friday, Kampyongo explained that the mobile issuance of NRCs was intended to increase coverage and reach out to citizens who lived in far-flung areas.

“The mobile registration exercise will be done in two phases, and 40 days is for each phase. The first phase, which has commenced today (Saturday), will run up to the second week of September, the second phase will run from September 1 to the second week of October. Phase one will cover Luapula, Northern, North-Western, Copperbelt and Eastern provinces while phase two will cover Western, Southern, Lusaka, Central and Muchinga provinces,” Kampyongo said.

The Minister also urged registration officers to be professional when dealing with citizens especially in remote parts of the country.

“To the officers on the ground, be respectful to the people you will be interacting with. We know that you will be dealing with different categories of our people in the rural communities, but I urge you to be professional and patient. Any officer who will mishandle our people will be removed from the exercise and appropriate action will be taken against them,” Kampyongo warned.

Kampyongo also asked citizens not to politicise the registration exercise.

“Elections don’t take place on social media, they are a physical exercise whose participants can be seen and be counted. So these social media politics that people have gotten crazy with are what has brought about this idea of the ground shifting. Where has the ground shifted? Just go and register to vote; and we will go to all the 10 Provinces and ensure every eligible Zambian is registered then we can meet in the elections after that,” said Kampyongo.