HOME affairs minister Stephen Kampyongo told Parliament yesterday that this year’s national registration card mobile exercise will be conducted in a two phased approach of 40 days each.
The minister also gave contradictory figures of national registration cards, issued on a routine basis, between 2016 and 2019.
Giving a ministerial statement, Kampyongo said the first phase would commence on August 1 and run to about September 10, while the second phase would start on September 1 to about October 10.
He told the House that his ministry had planned to commence the exercise in the second quarter of this year.
He, however, said the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic invalidated such a plan.
“The government sees mobile national registration card exercise as a very important exercise that needs to be undertaken, especially for those aged 18 and above who would like to exercise their democratic right to vote in the upcoming 2021 general elections,” Kampyongo said.
He also indicated that in the year 2015 to 2016, the Ministry of Home Affairs conducted mobile national registration exercise and that a total 1, 746, 400 national registration cards were issued during a three phased exercise.
Kampyongo said phase one covered Muchinga, Northern and Central provinces, phase two covered Eastern, Southern, Western and Lusaka provinces and that phase three had Copperbelt, North-Western and Luapula provinces.
“[But] the 2020 mobile exercise will be conducted in a two phased approach of 40 days each due to mostly the time constraints,” Kampyongo disclosed.
He explained that the two phases would cover the whole country, with phase one covering Luapula, Northern, North-Western, Copperbelt and Eastern provinces, while phase two would cover Western, Southern, Lusaka, Central and Muchinga provinces.
Kampyongo indicated that the Ministry of Home Affairs projected to issue 1,500,000 national registration cards during the 2020 mobile registration exercise.
He added that his ministry envisaged that 770,000 and 730,000 people would be issued with green national registration cards in phases one and two, respectively.
“To ensure that this programme is a success, the need for the Ministry of Home Affairs to engage the provincial and district administrations during the planning and monitoring of this massive exercise cannot overemphasised,” Kampyongo noted. “To date, the government through the Ministry of Finance, budget office, has released funding to offset allowances that were owed to the public service officers in Luapula, North-Western and Copperbelt provinces who participated in the 2015 mobile registration exercise, and for the purchase of material and equipment required for the 2020 mobile registration exercise.”
He said the rationale for conducting the periodic mobile registration exercise was to “effectively and efficiently provide increased accessibility to national identity documents to all Zambian citizens who have attained the statutory age of 16 years and above and [those] whose card needs replacement.”
“At the end of phase two of the mobile registration exercise, an evaluation of the whole process will be undertaken in order to re-visit some areas which may not have been adequately covered,” he said.
Kampyongo cautioned that any person that shall try to obtain or to represent an undeserving person, for the purpose of acquiring a green NRC, shall be committing a very serious crime and will be liable for prosecution before the courts of law.
Earlier, the House heard from Kampyongo that the Department of National Registration, Passport and Citizenship, for the period 2016 to 2019, managed to issue 748,818 NRCs to eligible Zambians, through routine national registration.
He said the figure was separated by province in a ‘descending’ order, with Lusaka being the highest and Muchinga Province being the lowest.
He gave the numbers as follows: Lusaka Province – 125,456, Copperbelt – 119,371, Eastern Province – 63,665, Southern Province – 60,765, Central Province – 58,963, Northern Province – 58,340, North-Western Province – 54,176, Luapula Province – 55,473, Western Province – 38,175 and Muchinga Province – 42,637.
He claimed that the total for the aforementioned figures was 748,118, when the actual sum is 677,021.
At first, Kampyongo said the NRC issued between 2016 and 2019 is 748,818 and later said the total is 748,118.
Kampyongo said the variance in the statistics among provinces was attributed to several factors, like population, distance to registration centres, harsh climatic conditions like floods and many more.
“It is worth to note that during routine registration, the Department is stationary at provincial and district levels awaiting access to the service by citizens who visit the Department of National Registration, Passport and Citizenship (DNRPC) offices,” said Kampyongo.
“Therefore, the uptake is solely dependent on how many people can afford to visit the DNRPC offices for registration.”