REPORTS that registration officers are turning away people over 16 years of age of sixteen because they were considered to be “over-age”, have angered the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) in Central Province.
They have now advised Kabwe district commissioner Patrick Chishala not to interfere with the on-going national registration cards issuance by threatening officers with dismissals.
UPND Central Province youth chairman Milner Mwanakampwe made the statement following Mr. Chishala’s remarks in which he threatened some registration officers with dismissal for reportedly turning away some people on account of being over-age.
“I have received some reports that some people are being turned away because of being above 16 years but Government did not put any age limit, it is everyone above 16 years who has either lost the card or doesn’t have, they must all be attended to.
“The Government has spent a lot of money in this exercise and if such reports continue, such officers will be replaced,” Mr. Chishala told KNC radio.
But Mr. Mwanakampwe said the DC’s threats were an attempt to intimidate registration officers.
He said he was hopeful that there were guidelines on how a person above 16 years can have an NRC and that the DC’s interference had the potential to expose the exercise to illegality. Mr. Mwanakampwe said instead of threatening to fire the officers, Mr. Chishala must use administrative avenues or leave the exercise to relevant departments.
“It is law that every Zambian of 16 years must obtain an NRC and there is also a procedure which must be followed by an elderly person getting a new card but if Mr. Chishala continues threatening the officers and make them work according to his taste, the process may be manipulated and allow some ineligible people such as foreigners to get the identity cards. Why is he in panic mode?” wondered Mr. Mwanakampwe.
On 30th April, Government launched the first phase of the mobile issuance of the national registration cards which is being conducted in Central, Muchinga, and Northern provinces. So far, Government has announced that the exercise is going on well and has called for other stakeholders to help in sensitization.