Use of National IDs could infringe on voter rights

The use of National Identity (ID) cards in the voter registration in the 2025 general elections has been described as a hindrance for voters.

Members of Parliament from Thyolo expressed their reservation on Monday in Thyolo during a Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) interface meeting with district stakeholders on establishment of voter registration, constituency and district tally centres.

Mary Navisha of Thyolo Thava Constituency said there were a lot of challenges associated with the National ID such that for the Commission to use it as a sole tool of   identification will deter a lot of eligible voters from voting.

“The national campaign underway to register people for national IDs has met so many challenges including the system being down to produce IDs.

“Here in Thyolo the exercise is starting on Monday but no awareness campaign has been done to inform the masses to partake in the exercise. This means a lot of people will be left out,” she said.

Commissioner Liwewe

Navisha said a lot of Cyclone Freddy disasters survivors lost their IDs too yet government expects them to pay for a police report to renew it.

Member of Parliament for Thyolo South West Constituency Mabvuto Scott called on National Registration Bureau (NRB) to consider opening more centres in the district.

“The challenge with NRB exercise is that centres are also very farther apart. For instance, the whole of T/A Thukuta has only one centre. My constituency has a hilly topography which makes movement difficult,” he said.

Commissioner for MEC, Olivia Liwewe said it was true that after the national disasters, it was difficult for the affected to travel due to trauma and damaged road networks.

“We have heard all the concerns raised. We will take up with NRB to consider putting a waiver on those who lost their IDs during the Cyclone Freddy. We will also support NRB in demand creation for the exercise,” she said.

The District Commissioner for Thyolo, Rosemary Nawasha also assured the house that should a lot of people be left out during the mass registration exercise, her office will organize officers to go to such areas and assist them.

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