HOME Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo says the second phase of the mobile issuance of National Registration Cards (NRCs) was a success, with 632,363 NRCs issued out of the 730,000 target.

Speaking when he rendered a Ministerial Statement in Parliament, Tuesday, Kampyongo announced that the NRC mobile issuance programme had achieved an 87 per cent success rate.

“Mr Speaker, phase two of the mobile issuance of National Registration Cards started on 20th September, 2020, in Central, Lusaka, Muchinga, Southern and Western provinces after the successful completion of phase one in the other five provinces. Operations during the first five days were slow owing to logistical challenges during the movement of materials and equipment from the phase one provinces. As a result of this, registration teams could not be deployed to far-flung areas during these first few days. It is for this reason that government saw it fit to extend the mobile registration period for five days to end on 4th November, 2020,” Kampyongo said.

“Mr Speaker, the target for phase two of the mobile national registration exercise was 730,000 National Registration Cards. So far, 632,363 NRCs have been issued, representing 87 per cent success rate. I wish to thank the honourable members of parliament, traditional leaders and other stakeholders for participating in the exercise by encouraging all eligible persons to obtain National Registration Cards.”

He, however, noted that there were some challenges in the process such as isolated cases of foreign nationals who tried to obtain NRCs, among others.

“Mr Speaker, it goes without saying that some challenges were encountered during this mammoth undertaking, but the Ministry worked closely with stakeholders who were at hand to address them. Mr Speaker, some instances, where unscrupulous individuals were taking advantage of unsuspecting applicants by charging for affidavits were reported in Lusaka District and the Ministry quickly moved in to deploy police officers to keep the situation in check. In addition, isolated cases of foreign nationals attempting to obtain National Registration Cards and Zambians attempting to obtain two or more NRCs were reported. Fortunately, law enforcement agencies were on hand to arrest perpetrators and the said offenders will be appearing in court soon,” he said.

He added that the lack of communication with district commissioners was what raised concerns among members of parliament, who complained about the execution of the process.

“Mr Speaker, arising from complaints received on the floor of this House that the issuance of National Registration Cards was selective, I personally went on the ground to Southern Province and established that, in fact, the problem was the lack of coordination and proper communication on the ground. Mr Speaker, it was discovered that the district leadership in the province made a schedule and allocated dates when registration teams were going to visit each identified registration centre. However, because of the lack of communication between the office of the district commissioners and some members of parliament, applicants were being ferried from centres, which were yet to be attended to, to the district office or to registration centres where registration was ongoing. This, in many cases, created long queues and led to the many complaints that honourable members of parliament were receiving from their constituencies. I am happy to report that during my visit this situation was addressed,” he said.

“The challenge has been lack of communication and lack of respect for the district commissioners’ office in many cases. That’s what has caused a number of challenges in many areas. Other challenges are where people want to take advantage of the exercise by representing people, who are not their relatives as deponents must be either parents, blood relatives or official guardians.”

He said all sub-district and district registration offices will remain open for those that missed the mobile exercise.

“I wish to conclude by saying that all district and sub-district registration offices will remain open in case there are eligible persons who might have missed the mobile registration exercise. In order to afford those who have lost National Registration Cards easy access to replacement, I have extended the suspension of the requirement of a police report, until the end of the voter registration exercise,” said Kampyongo.