A large number of Malawians in the country’s major cities are not participating in the on-going national registration exercise, a snap survey has revealed.
The development was revealed after solicited views of people from the streets of Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu.
The communities attribute their reluctance to register to lack of transport money to go and register in their villages, as per the requirement of the exercise by the national registration bureau.
Many of them have described as unrealistic the government’s requirement that people should go register in their villages, arguing that it’s not all who can afford transport money just to spend on the exercise in these hard economic hard times.
“We are aware of the importance of the exercise, but it is difficult for some of us to find transport money to go to our villages just to register. As for me I come from Chitipa, and for me to travel there I need about thirty thousand kwacha to and from Blantyre to register which I cannot afford as am just a mere guard, who is paid half of that a month,” said one man interviewed in the streets of Blantyre.
Most of them suggested that “perhaps if the government (through the bureau) also establish some registration centre’s in the districts’ councils” for many people to participate in the exercise.
But Director of the National registration bureau, Peter Chitedze told Capital Radio that they cannot currently incorporate people’s views because the exercise is conducted under the national registration act.
“The law does not require to specifically take care of specific needs, the law is applied in general, “said Chitedze.
However, Chitedze warned against failure to comply with the laws, saying it will attract penalties stipulated in the Act.
“It’s against the law for somebody not to register and currently we are encouraging Malawians to register, because national registration is a system for social economic planning and development. However, people need to be civic educated before the penalties are applied,” said Chitedze.
He has also dismissed reports that the second phase of the exercise has halted due to financial constraints the bureau is facing.