Thursday, July 18, 2024

National Registration cards are tribalist and need to be modified


File:A woman displays her voter and National registration cards

By Mr.Musonda
In Zambia there is tribalism by law.Our national registration cards are tribalist.Why do you ask me the village I come from and for my chief ? Does it mean to be a Zambian is not enough unless you have a village and chief? In most case someone has never been and will never go to the village.In this way the registration brings with it a sense of tribalism and regionalism which is bearing fruit of conflicts in Western province and North-Western province particularly in Zambezi where the Lunda and Luvale fight.

We need a system in Zambia which identifies us Zambians not of a particular square area in Zambia. My suggestion to concerned Zambians and MPs is to push for registration that will do away with this colonial system which worked then to control the number of villagers going town.In colonial times villagers had to get permission from whites to go to town and so needed Icitupa.[pullquote]Please stop giving people too many numbers NRC number, driving license number,passport number, NAPSA number, Bank number, school Examination number,govt employee number why can’t we just have one number for everything[/pullquote]

Every Zambian at birth must be given a number, this can be done at the clinic.This number can then be used for any public service needed.This number should be used for examinations, driving licenses, passports, banks, NAPSA number and in all forms of registration which need to be given a number.All
information of education should be entered at a central database. So that if I apply for a job and they need to verify my qualifications they can just contact the central system. At every city council when giving plots they should know the persons number so that if a need arises they can trace the person so easily.

When a person dies the information needs to be captured by the central system so that at the end of the year its known how many people died in that year.Such a system will also aid in the ontrol of foreigners and corruption. It will be easy to check if a person has a genuine passport in just a matter of minutes.

Please stop giving people too many numbers NRC number, driving license number,passport number, NAPSA number, Bank number, school Examination number,govt employee number why can’t we just have one number for everything.

Mps I leave this to you and concerned NGOs do us good on this issue.


  1. Spot on, in Singapore everybody has a number which is given when they are born and removed from the system when they die. A hospital will not release a body unless a registration card is produced to match the deceased. It does reduce corruption significantly but no system will stop it, but our politicians then wont be able to create fake people during elections so it will take a very serious govt to change the system. The process will be expensive initially but in the long run save the govt money.

    • Master they actually dont remove the number from the system. They just ‘flag’ it, that in turn allows them to provide more precise statistics of how many passed on over a given period.

  2. Musonda, do you really know what you are talking about? You must first of all go back and learn Zambian history before you start writing such useless articles and start making useless recommendations. God to Malawi and see for yourself and I am sure you will come back with a different view about what your are writing. Also, go and read the constitution on birth. Send me your email, I can email you a draft constitution.

    • You are not answering Musonda in anyway. Try and address what he has raised with reasoned facts. Not just asking him to go to Malawi. The guy who cites Singapore tells us how the system there works. He doesnt ask us to go to Singapore

    • I think you end up looking to be incompetent if you ask some one questions of which answers you cannot provide. Why ask for the email address, coz he did not send this your email why ask him to give u his.If you are a historian, educate us and will benefit than bragging for something we can’t see. Let blog responsibly

  3. Village? chief? lol

    Really sounds backwards if you were to ask me….

    What if you live in the city or a farm, you still have to come up with your village?

  4. Mr Musonda, 
    are you a spy? On the NRC’s you are lost my dear. They are okay just like they are. You should be a tuff tribalist yourself. People should be proud of where they come from. We have always had chiefs, headmen etc in our  African culture. If you don’t have better things to do start a company and employ others. People like you watse time concentrating on small issues. Think Big Mr Musonda! Even in the developed world citizens have different numbers for different institutions. I’m sorry but I find your analysis very childish.

    • What I get from the point he raises about tribalistic inclinations has some truth to it. Here’s the way I see it:
      It is possible that most disagreements within the region can be traced back to tribal affiliation; I am a proud Luchazi man but above that I am Zambian born. It may be superficial to just erase the need to identify as one tribe or another; the whole point is to create a basis for a national identity, one where we are all equal. The status quo is we have the more dominant tribes ascending more often to high office , while tribes such as my own have little or inadequate representation. It is grounds that merit further discussion which may be beyond the scope of this forum- perhaps a public discussion concerning racial tribal identity should be had.

  5. This tribal nonsense has to stop. Just put forth your suggestions if you need to. DO NOT lean your opinions towards tribal affiliations, that’s utter nonsense.

  6. I m in full support of your argument against the indication of villages on N.R.C.We need to do away with villages and chiefs on N.R.C

  7. Mr Musonda you are a very potential future president of Zambia. Zambia cannot do without people like you. God Bless You.

  8. Ba Musonda ubukopo…….
    I am based in UK and and even though one might obtain British Citizenship details such as country and town of birth are owez asked for. WOuld you say that promotes racism?

    • There is nothing wrong with asking for country and town of birth because this is essentially where you are from. There is however, something fundamentally wrong with asking for Chief and village when:
      (a) You were born elsewhere and have probably never even set foot in your supposed village. 
      (b) Are probably of mixed heritage anyway as is very often the case these days
      (c) Identify more with the place you were born, as opposed to the village where your great grandfather came from. 

      Given this situation, the system in my view can only be described as irrational and I agree with the author it does perpetuate tribal divisions rather than advance the philosophy that binds us as a people “one Zambia one nation”. 

    • Shakes I think to an extent you do have a point. Place of birth would probably suffice.
      But do you realise that just our names themselves give us away as to which tribe we most likely belong to. Would you say this promotes tribalism?
      I think we as individuals shd just rise above the issues of labelling each other and live in unity with diversity. Mind you this time very few families are purelly from one tribe….I’m had both parents of the same tribe but now I have nieces and nephews of different maternal origins and my own daughter’s mum isnt even Zambian so I would be stupid to play triblism in any way

  9. I could not agree more. Look at my case, my father is from Eastern ,my mother is from Northern and am married to a Lamba woman .furthermore my children have not gone to any village . Which village and chief should appear on my children’s registration card?

    • In your case just write
      1. place of birth UTH Residential area at that time Matero for example. However if numbers are introduced they will definately catch impersonators and those using relatives certificates in acquiring jobs .. Or travel documents. I hauled from Village Hamayobe in chief Sinadambwe.. Here they register me as born in Zambia and I have security number like any other Fin CITIZEN. In some cases there are many people sharing same name and surnames although they aren’t related.. Numbers given to them = ID

  10. Place of birth; city; county; address and the lot are very useful everywhere you go. In fact even the NRC is coded in some form. For example: 270518/32/1 – would be a Reg obtained from Samfya. Yes there is merit in centralising data; but it would take very long to achieve. Currently, your argument can be useful to ZRA; RTSA; and Police, and Councils. Once a car enters Zambia, it gets registered to ZRA and all detailes passed onto the rest. Highways agency can get data from these people, (to design roads) insurance ( to pay centraly) and council for local taxation. Otherwise the rest is not important. We already know our tribes and have intermarried whats the issue?

  11. If you have nothing to say, don’t write.

    Even in Europe you have to state where you were born, and your ethnicity must be stated whether your origin is in the that country or other.

    If you think that you have too many numbers that relate to registration and other data, just wait, you have not seen anything.

  12. Musonda what have people of Western and Northwestern Province done wrong ? What has this got to do with your campaign against the NRC? Stop conflating issues! You’re just chanelling your prejudices.


    • Spot on, Rodrik !!!
      Identity is a very passive value. You can choose how you want to interpret it, but its your identity. The Bible itself (for the Christian nation) is “tribalistic”. Check how great lengths are entered into, outlining the lineages of the characters! The Zambian NRC, for its part, just goes down one generation and asks you to state your identity the way you know and prefer it. What’s wrong with that?

      The problem is with naturalised Zambians, like Zambian Asians, whites, etc., who obviously can only enter N.A. for chief and village.

      By the way, in developed countries like the UK, a village is an expensive (rich) place to live. Those who cannot afford to live in the village (open countryside) live in densely populated cities! Be proud of your vilage, bro Musonda!

  14. A child born in Shang’mbo to be registered in the central database, presumably situated in Lusaka…..! Mr. Musonda.., is this possible….:?… May be in the next three generations… Zambia will be highly advanced in technology that even in the remoted part of Shang’ombo itself will have such facilities!!!

    • The technology to capture the information is not so advanced that we as a country can not afford it. Right now, Kenyans are capturing biometric info of voters in rural areas and the city with a laptop, a camera, and entering info in specific fields. When this is done, the information saved on the laptop is entered into their voter database. Pretty simple I think. The whole idea of a central database should not be mistaken for a stationary computer in some gov basement; instead it’s a centrally located databas that is networked so it’s accessible to everyone, much like the way an intranet (not internet) works. You access it by entering a code, maybe a reg number, and it pulls up info on the person. Instead we seem to find building a new stadium in W.prov more important

    • Which roots? Your children lost their roots a long time ago when they became ba yooooo. I think the question Mr. Musonda is rising is whether our current registration system is the best possible. I am from the eastern province but I have never been there. My children are all born and raised in southern province, so what is the relevance of some village in chipata on their ID?

  15. In well organised countries a citizen or immigrant is given a personal number to be used in all official documents. It follows you until you die. The number is unique to the individual.

  16. I live in Italy. I have my Zambian Passport (with a Zambian number), I have a work permit (with a number that shows even my country of origin), I have an ID (with its own number) and I have also a tax code number. What is common in all these numbers is the tax code. ZNRC is not only for Zambians. Have you seen the ZNRC for foreigners living in Zambia? If I would ask a Zambian from Northern Province or other province, I am being tribalist? In any province of Zambia, there more than one tribe. Ignoring this fact means means that one is being tribalist. Zambian culture is rich because we have many tribes and different languages and dialects. Someone told me about a Zambian from chikalabombwe and his chief is Nkana. Can you imagine this?

    • I totally AGREE with you when a person attains the age of 16 the person is given a number in  form of the NRC. That’s the number. Before that, the person is identified with the NRC of the parents. There is no problem with that. The village & tribe are important for us as Zambians to know our background of our origins. If people do not have that information in the future people will not even know there tribe. Look at the African American’s on  youtube and ancestry dot com they are searching for their tribe even Oprah and snoppy Dogg all have checked there origin and tribe just to know where they came from.  Mr.Musonda you say it is  not important you got to be kidding, anyhow at least according to me, I think the system we have is good all the government has to do is computerise 

  17. Yes, no need to write chief or village. Such info should be kept on the database. It will also help root out foreigners if they are caught with a NRC. All you need is ask them their tribe, village or chief and if they fail to reveal such info, then further action can be taken on them.

  18. Mr.Musonda this is an excellent idea.People may laugh at your suggestion now but one day someone is going to make a lot of money building the system you have suggested.Theres hope for Zambia if there are thinkers like you.

    • You’re right…but I often wonder why we don’t ask people at UNZA or CBU to actually step up and do something to improve this and many other redundancies we have in the way government does things. I took a into to programming class a Evelyn Hone years ago ( I barely remember C++ , smh) we discussed how a well written program can be made to address the obvious need to computerize something like this, or medical records. The obvious benefits are a streamlined, more efficient and secure process. Most have experienced the frustration that comes when you are made to wait in line a most Gov. institutions like UTH because someone has to look for your file among countless paper files. In the case of my birth certificate, they had no records for that because they were lost or damaged them.

  19. I agree with the number stuff but not the issue of removing villages, This gives a sense of belonging, do not forget that zambia is united by 73 tribes so in that sense, removing villages from the NRc means disregarding the presence of the villages and chiefs. The numbering system i totally agree.

  20. I think the author of this article is confused. A NRC is not tribal at all and just stating your origin. We all have to come from somewhere! You can be born in an urban area but your parents do have roots.

  21. Just because you recently visited Europe or some other developed regions of the world and found some different national registration system and you come to trash ours here??? Do you know how many rural health centres have computers linked to the national computer registration system to track what number a born child should be given in Mazabuka and not duplicated with the one just born same time in Kaputa?As for mentioning village where you come from, how do they track you after you have stolen and run away?? You are compaing mangoes and oranges, we have all seen those systems but they are not yet applicable to Zambia because you have no infrastructure!!!

  22. @Putya (17)

    Exactly the point dear, its not everything that is done outside our country that can be applicable here, good and effective as it may be!! The numbering is not practical as these numbers are not random, they follow a given sequence from a central system!!

  23. Those of you slugging off this article are partly the reason we cant even manufacture a needle for example, here is a Mr Musonda trying to think outside the box and what does he get from armchair critics, ridicule and insults. It doesnt matter whether other countries have numbers for everything, we dont need to play safe all the time we can also originate. Opinions, no insults please.

  24. I really can’t find what is wrong with our currnent system. I am sure some of you never watched the programme Roots based on Alex Haley’s novel. Kunta Kinte made an effort of telling his daughter of a place in Gambia. Generations later, Alex Haley found the place in Gambia all the way from the USA.Why bother if our roots are useless. Let’s not get paranoid with baseless thoughts with no foresight for the future generations. You know, we are even losing oujr languages in the name of modernity. What a wasted generation. I would advise the government to ignore such rantings. Right now, tell me Zambian who can go back to the tenth generation? That is what you should be looking at, not such annoying stuff.


    • :-?Here, here. It occurs to me that in the desire to have a number that identifies you across systems within the government, from education, to health care, to driver licensees and so on, the NRC is in a sense that number. To fulfill the idea the author has, it is probable this new identifying number be issued at birth, instead of waiting till you;re old enough to get your reg. store everything in a central database that has countermeasure in case of identity theft ( Maybe housed and maintained by our Secret service for security reasons?) Since it’s issued at birth, once the person turns say 18, they are reissued a new card,same number, only this time with biometric info. When u get other docs like passport, driver license, they already have ur biometric info and would only add new info 

  26. I see the article has split Zambians. Here in SA a similar argument was used against the compulsory racial classifications on govt IDs saying it encourages racism. However, when you scrutinise it deeply what is race? Who are whites and who are blacks and who are negroes and who are coloureds? They are impossible to classify but we still go ahead and call ourselves whites blacks etc. In this era of birth certificates, tribes may not be neccessary to identify one’s nationality but there is a history to them They are much older than our Nations. So they wont be done away with frivolously

  27. Musonda, you are spot on. KK in his later days discarded the use of chief and village, It was brought back by Chiluba and Sata in 90s. 

    Modern Zambia has Zambians who’s parents were born elsewhere like Guy Scot, the Galuans, Dipak Patel and many others from our neighbouring countries,  in such circumstances the system alienates them as second class citizens.

  28. I wonder if stating TRIBE on the NRC could be helpful for organisations such as the financial industry where things such as ‘theft’ are a big risk?

  29. It can NEVER work, to start with they dont even have computers, how will they know who has died in the village whilst today there are no such records kept? Dream on, try something more realistic.

  30. There is no tribalism in that. It becomes a problem when one sees everything through the lenses of tribalism. Is the author also trying to say that we should do away with our tribal names? If one discriminates you on the basis of where you come from, he or she is also likely to discriminate you upon hearing your name. There is no problem in giving details of where you come from to the registration officer. By the way very few people have access to those details.
    The registration officer needs those important details so that one finds it difficult to lie that he or she is a Zambian. Why can’t the author read this from that angle. People should grow!

  31. This author is a devil’s adovacte. In USA they are now putting chip on the forehead of a person with all the details of that person. This believed to be the prophesy in the book of revalation about 666****. This what this author is advocating

  32. We need people who can think outside the box like Musonda. Others live to criticise while others are there to generate ideas. There are so many areas where we need to change things, its not just economy….no wonder we are called a developing country. WISE UP, guys!!!! 

  33. An excellent article written by a very intelligent and modern person. The problem with Zambia is that mostly people born in villages are the ones framing GRZ processes. Everything is seen thro’ the belonging to a village. We should move on . We are modern Zambians. We should manage and treat the human resource properly.

  34. Yaba,,,,koma Musonda kena uli cikopo.Cousin you are dull.What hapens to those who are born at home especially in typica;l rural areas ,grow up, finsh school and gets employment but has no birth number.Iwe ulota olo bwanji,you are “DAY DREAMER” the current system is good.There is no tribalism in NRC my dear please write sensible articles,this one is drama

  35. Simple minds discuss people, average minds discuss ideas while great minds discuss ideas. The reason village, chief and district are there is to ascertain the authenticity of your roots. However, as Musonda quips here, mordern technology can enable us trace a person from BIRTH to DEATH! How does the internet and intranet work. Are we so daft as Zambians that we can’t invent a system that others can copy?

  36. in i had a chat ith my friend who is from namibia..he too had problems with the details on our nrc..he says where he comes from issues like indicating chief and tribe are not necessary..maybe its time we also reflected on these issue..

  37. Even if youve never been to your village still your roots should be traced there and if people in the village are asked then they should be able to know you even if you have never visited. They know me in my village and im 33 years old, ive never been there. It traces its origin to colonial era when british had to register everyone, if you have no village in zambian territory then you might as well be from malawi or congo pretending to get zambian citizenship.

  38. Naimwe ba Musonda: just keep quite if you have nothing to say. What’s wrong with knowing where you come from, where you were born? Are relly a Zambian, or perhaps a most recent emigre from DRC?

  39. This article is too advanced for all *****s on this blogsite. Only the few wise ones can see and understand what Musonda is questioning. Mwachepa sana…

  40. Shimpundu misula akakulya ngakachepa apela abana alalila umukashi! Mr musonda you are right on that Zambia by now should get away with all these numbers. Look at the US they only have one number social security given to you at birth and that number is your identinty. Use it everywhere…..

  41. I am still trying to figure out what the shortcomings of the NRC have to do with the so called “problems” of the people in Western and Northwestern Province.. This article is in the long line of articles of tribalism projection by a certain clique. The other one that comes to mind is the one by the so called Rev Kaoma righting about the dangers of tribalism. In it he accused Lozis of voting along tribal lines in 1968 in the UNIP party elections. His evidence? They did not vote for Kapwepwe for the position of VP. And who did they vote for? Reuben Kamanga, an Easterner. This is the same warped logic Musonda is using in improving the NRC. Sicko!

  42. I was born in Kitwe although I am Bemba. My NRC says I was born in Ndeke, Dictrict: Kitwe. No village or chief is mentioned on mine.

  43. Bloggers, believe me not the issue of where you come from will be a thing of the past in years to come. Musonda is right. This information on the NRCs is irrelavant and does not help anyone but simply discriminates your origin and tribe. Already names have changed so much that you can hardly tell the tribe of an individual from the the name. Doing away with these particulars will reduce tribalism to some extent.

  44. Bembaman#55 our names changed a long time ago when Britain colonised us. It is now compulsory for us to use English names. ha ha! you have a point

  45. In this advanced age of technology of which Zambia is privy Mr Musonda’s suggestion needs serious consideration. A database that could make registration simpler and convenient is all we need! After all anyone born within the boundaries of Zambia is Zambian until necessary processes take place. Musonda is right, period! 

  46. How about street kids born from street kids who were abandoned by parents who never knew their tribes? How will they identify themselves? Thinking BIG, as most intelligent bloggers suggest seems to mean thinking in one direction. How ironic!

    • I think you rights! My parents died when I was 6 and 8. Through my uncle`s friend who was a foreigner, I started doing business with him and traveling here and there. Afterward, he helped me to go back to school and I got 13 points. I am now 22 and I am a lunda but I speak very little of it, because no one could teach me. I am thinking of applying at the University but I don`t have NRC and no one can take me there, what can I do? Who can help me, WHO?

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