The Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) welcomes the second phase mobile issuance of National Registration Cards (NRCs). This process is very important as it is a first step in affording the citizens of the Republic of Zambia an opportunity to acquire a legal document that forms a basis of them to attain a voters card and be in a position to participate as a voter in the 2021 general elections. SACCORD has undertaken some monitoring of the mobile issuance of NRCs and has made two key observations.
Firstly, decentralizing the acquisition of the NRCs through mobile issuance affords many citizens an opportunity to acquire the document and this must be encouraged. However, we have observed that the issue of attaining a police report for those who lost the NRC has not been as decentralized as some police posts or stations contend that they do have a mandate to issue such reports. We would like to appeal to the Minister of Home Affairs and the Police Command to consider fully decentralizing the attainment of a police report for those who have lost NRCs so that citizens do not have to spend more money and time moving around to find an appropriate police post or station to issue them such a report.
Secondly, SACCORD would further like to appeal to the Minister of Home Affairs, following his directive for a waiver on the fee charged to get a police report for a lost NRC, to ensure that there is effective communication between the Ministry and the Police Command on the waiver fee for those who lost NRCs as some of the police stations continue to charge some citizens the ZMW54 fee for a lost NRC police report. The idea of a waiver, which is a good incentive for citizens to go and get an NRC replacement, is a wonderful and welcome initiative and we need to ensure that it is effected so that citizens do not get discouraged on the prospects of paying money to get an NRC replacement.
The process of mobile issuance of NRCs is generally going well and we would want to appeal to all citizens who are in need of acquiring an NRC or getting a replacement NRC to take advantage of the decentralized process that has been availed to them. It is only when one has an NRC that he or she can acquire a voter’s card and ensure that they peacefully come out en masse to exercise their right to vote in the 2021 general elections.