FODEP has challenged Home Affairs Minister Davies Chama to explain whether there is a law that bar Zambians above 25 years old to easily access National Registration Cards (NRC’s).
In a letter addressed to Mr Chama, FODEP Executive Director McDonald Chipenzi said there is need the Ministry to allow all eligible Zambians to obtain NRCs without difficulties and if there is any law that bar Zambians above 25 years old to easily access NRCs, it should be explained.
Below is Mr Chipenzi’s letter.
October 26, 2015
Hon. Davies Mwila
Minister of Home Affairs
Ministry of Home Affairs
Dear Hon. Mwila,
SUB: DENIAL OF NATIONAL REGISTRATION CARDS TO CITIZENS AGED ABOVE 25 YEARS
Refer to the above captioned and your parliamentary response on October 20, 2015 to ADD MP Hon Getrude Imenda’s concerns on her constituents being turned away by the Ministry of Home Affairs Mobile official issuing NRCs on account of overage.
FODEP was attracted by the response as reported in the Zambia Daily Mail Vol.19 No. 253 page 3 headlined “Overage citizens seeking NRCs-Mwila” and we quote “The issue of overage is a challenge. Some are 45 others 40. Where were they? But those aged 25 and below are being given NRCs.”
The fact that people at such an age are now enthusiastic to obtain the NRCs could be an eye opener that the Department has not done a lot in publicizing its services to citizens and also that it is too centralized at civic centres, most of them inaccessible to ordinary citizens due to long distances.
It is important that your ministry provide legal guidance on the denial of such overaged Zambians the right to acquisition of an NRC. We request this because under Article 7 of the Republican Constitution, only those who are no longer Zambians and those who obtained citizenship fraudulently are ineligible to be Zambians. In as much as FODEP appreciates the Ministry’s fears of issuing NRCs to foreigners, it is our considered view that being a security Ministry, fraudsters and foreigners can be easily identified and prosecuted.
In this regard, we humbly request your Ministry to allow all eligible Zambians to obtain NRCs without difficulties and if there is any law that bar Zambians above 25 years old to easily access NRCs, kindly share with us so as to help spread the same news during our civic and voter education programmes currently underway.
Finally, FODEP is of the view that the continued denial of some people to acquire NRCs will undermine the credibility and outcome of government’s proposed National Referendum to be held under the requirement f the provisions of Article 79 (3).
Your quick and favorable consideration of the above issue will of great service to many Zambia.
Yours in National Service