HOME Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo has urged officers in the mobile National Registration Cards (NRC) issuance exercise to focus on the job and not to be swayed by distractors.

Kampyongo was in Southern Province, Sunday, to inspect phase two of the mobile issuance of NRCs in that province.

Speaking when he paid a courtesy call on Mazabuka district administrative officer Timothy Mulenga, Kampyongo said it was unfortunate that Southern Province was the only region where they were getting negative reports regarding the issuance of NRCs.

He added that it was unfortunate that some people were trying to create an impression that there was nothing happening regarding the issuance of NRCs in the province, when they knew that the government had spent a lot of money to get the exercise going.

“We are here to serve the public without leaving anyone behind. It’s just been unfortunate that this is the only province where we are getting negative reports. Of course, its normal to get a few complaints; an exercise of this magnitude cannot go without challenges which are manageable. But to try and create an impression that there is totally nothing that is happening when we know we have spent a lot of money as government to get this exercise going in the province is totally unfortunate,” Kampyongo said.

He, however, urged the officers to focus on their job and not to be swayed by distractors.

“But anyway, we are focused to ensure that the job is done and I can only urge all of you [officers] collectively to focus on the job and don’t be swayed by distractors whose motives are only known to themselves. Ours is to identify citizens, document them as citizens. What they do with the privileges that come with citizenship is their choice as people,” said Kampyongo.

Meanwhile, Mazabuka Central UPND member of parliament Gary Nkombo thanked Kampyongo for the visit.

He also highlighted some of the issues that were on the ground regarding the issuance of NRCs.

“You know very well honourable minister that the biological relationship in terms of deponent does happen in an ideal society where there is a family comprising mother and father or uncle. Now, if the brother’s mother to the child comes here, they will obviously bear a different name. If my sister’s child who bears a name other than Nkombo comes with a guardian, they have been turned away because there is no blood connection. That is a matter that requires to be attended to because in this society, we also have people who are fatherless,” Nkombo said.

In response, Kampyongo said: “When officers are interacting with the guardians or parents, they correlate information. So, there will be a second chance to interrogate the applicant individually and in the process, if this individual says ‘no actually that person [I have come with] is a friend to this person or we are just party members’ then any professional officer has any reasonable ground to probe that further. So it’s very key that people come with honest representatives and officers have a responsibility to verify the information given to them, either by a person claiming to be a guardian or a parent. When they finish, they also interrogate this person [the applicant].”

And addressing some Mazabuka residents who were at one of the NRC issuance stations, Kampyongo pleaded with the parents and guardians to be truthful when they were engaging the officers regarding the people they took to get NRCs.

“If you get a child who is not yet 16, you bring the child here to get an NRC, when he or she finishes school, those years will be affected in the future. For those of you who could have lost NRCs, just make sure that you explain. If you had lost an NRC, you can even use the voters’ registration card to verify the NRC number that you could have lost,” he said.

In Monze district, Kampyongo urged the officers who were conducting the exercise to keep up with the good work and to be patient with the people in order to get adequate information from them.