NRB clarifies on multiple registration concerns

The National Registration Bureau (NRB) has dismissed claims of security breaches on registration of the national identity (ID) card, saying their system cannot be manipulated to print many cards.

But a security expert has since warned that the development exposes some loopholes in the national identification system.

NRB spokesperson Norman Fulatira was responding to claims that people have been able to register multiple times using their own names or fake ones.

NRB staff capturing data during the mass registration exercise

In an interview yesterday, Fulatira said although such incidents may happen, the NRB cannot process or issue multiple registrants’ cards because the details will be discovered in their system.

He said: “NRB has always informed and encouraged Malawian citizens to register once. If anybody tries to register more than once, even with different names, the national database captures as a duplicate and the NRB headquarters cannot print such a record.”

But in a separate interview, security expert Alex, said if government does not do anything to address the issue soon, the system might be prone to abuse by politicians mostly.

He said: “For example, we hear about people being transferred from one place to another to go and vote. This system may allow that.

“The other thing is that as a country, we may not be able to have a good database for the local nationals. It means that one can be a foreigner but at the same time have the national ID.”

To obtain a national ID, Malawian citizens have to be aged 16 years and above and must bring two copies of IDs at the time of the registration, complete a form to be signed by their village head and must present themselves for biometric capturing.

Asked why NRB staff use the same login cards instead of everyone possessing his/her own to avoid manipulation of the system, Fulatira said the bureau is working to resolve such issues.

In December, the bureau relocated their Blantyre office from  Christian Service Centre (CSC) House to Haile Selassie Road.

In January 2018, NRB embarked on a continuous registration exercise which is being carried out with funding from Malawi Government and several donors that have contributed to a basket fund run by the United Nations Development Programme.

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