THE United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has said it is failing to understand how some people in the country keep on suggesting that the national identity cards (IDs) can be used to rig an election.
Some people, including members of the opposition in Parliament have been arguing that they suspect the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is planning to use the poorly administered national registration system to rig 2019 election.
UNDP Chief Technical Advisor Tariq Malik said Malawi is the only country where he has heard such sentiments about the national IDs. UNDP, which is leading donors in the ongoing national registration system exercise, is also one of the major donors of electoral activities in the country.
In May, Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Registration Bureau (NRC) to use the national IDs in voter registration process. Malik was, however, quick to say he is not criticising those people who are skeptical as they have the right to their opinion but there is need to critically see the instances where an ID can be used for rigging.
Speaking when the national registration team updated members of Bwaila Media Club (BMC) on the exercise yesterday, Malik said in most countries national IDs are used to control rigging through the sidelining of aliens on the voters list.
“ID ensures one person, one identity, one vote. ID ensures that there is no exclusion and means people who are supposed to be excluded are not included. Like people who are dead should not be on the voters’ list and on top of that it ensures that there is no multiple entries, no duplications. These things are vital to make sure that there is no rigging,” Malik said.
He told the participants to go and inform Malawians that the IDs will ensure that elections are well documented and rigging free. Vice President for BMC Rawjazz Siula asked the media practitioners to deal with what he described as misconceptions rocking the registration exercise
“Since this project started, there have been misconceptions and this gathering will help our members to understand those misconceptions. It is also our duty to unearth all malpractices in this exercise to ensure that only those people who deserve such IDs get them,” Siula said.
Despite meeting Mec and NRB officials and the Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Grace Chiumia presenting a ministerial report on the registration exercise and the use of national IDs in the electoral process, some Malawians, more especially politicians on the opposition side are still pessimistic.