Opposition Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) President Edith Nawakwi says the issuance of National Registration Cards (NRCs) is a farce and has called on the Minister of Home Affairs to put his house in order.
Speaking from Kembe Constituency Ms. Nawakwi explained that the officers who have been sent to conduct the registration exercise are not serious and that some officers have turned the exercises into a money making venture.
The opposition leader said the officers in Kembe constituency were charging citizens who have lost their NRCs and would like to replace K50 for a police report when everyone knows that a report is suppose to be free during mobile registration.
“The mobile issuance of National Registration Cards (NRCs) is farce. The officers who have been sent to do the exercise are not serious. We want to refer to the places where we have been to inspect and we have been to Kembe and some parts of Kapiri and what we find is common in the places we have been to.
Police officers specifically in Kembe Constituency stationed at Chiyuni Police Post have been extorting money from citizens who have lost their NRCs and want to replace them. The police are arguing that to give a police report one has to pay them K50 and as such have been extorting money from the villagers to the tune of K50 for each report that is given out to issue a National Registration Card,” Ms. Nawakwi said.
Ms. Nawakwi called on the Minister of Home Affairs to put house in order by announcing that there is no requirement for any payments during the mobile registration period.
“The Minister of Home Affairs should be serious enough and make the following announcements that during the period within which NRCs are being issued there is no requirement to pay any fee to get a report because we know that in normal times the fee is only K10 now the police have hiked it to K50 as a way of extorting money from unsuspecting villagers.
If the Minister wants he should call my office I will take him to Chiyuni and present to him the people who have lost money at the unscrupulous hands of evil policemen stationed at Chiyuni Police Post with the help of some officers from Prospect Hill in Kabwe,” she said.
She further accused the police officers at Chiyuni Police Post of introducing “shishita” to further extort money from the villagers as they are made to pay K150 for them to be released in the morning after being arrested in the night.
“This is for the Minister of Home Affairs and his group, in Chiyuni itself the police men have introduced what they call shishita just last week they rounded up 33 innocent citizens and accused them of loitering in the villages and each one is being charged K150 for loitering.
These evil acts perpetrated by the public service who are suppose to be servants of the people is symptomatic of the looting that is going on in the Patriotic Front Government under President Edgar Lungu. It is very clear that to stop this scourge we need a Tsunami in the country, how else does one explain extorting money from an 87 year old man in the village who simply wants to vote next year? This is the same behavior were the country is being robbed huge sums of money by Ministers who travelling business class and travelling with their spouses at government expense,” Ms. Nawakwi said.
And opposition leader accused the National Registration office of treating the exercises like a picnic as the officers are not publicizing their whereabouts once they arrive in an area adding that any exercise of this magnitude requires full publicity.
“The National Registration office is treating exercise as if it was a picnic; first, there is no announcement from anywhere or anyone in the villages where this exercise is being under taken. These officers arrive in the morning and by afternoon they pack up their bags and live to go to their next station.
In fact in the same Kembe Constituency at Nachiyaba polling station in Chikobo ward they just arrived there for 4 hrs and then they took off and say there is no one here but they had not even informed the headmen nor informed the chiefs or even made any attempts to do publicity through Zambia Information Service ZANIS,” she said.
She observed that it was imperative for the traditional leadership in the country to fully participate in the exercise saying “what know ourselves is that an exercise of this magnitude there is suppose to be full publicity and in order to publicize this exercise the chiefs and their headmen must be involved. If the government doesn’t have money to engage ZANIS it is imperative that every chief is requested instruct village headmen and women under their jurisdiction to treat this exercise as matter of life and death.”