A representative of the United Nations in Malawi Mia Seppo is expressing shock over continued reports of racial abuse and discrimination against minorities in the ongoing National Identity Registration Exercise.
According to Seppo the country’s constitution is very strong on prohibiting discrimination of any form, it does not matter whether they are citizens through birth or marriage or even registration.
Asian, Caucasian and mixed race Malawians and other minority groups are still having their nationality questioned when registering for IDs, despite having the required supporting documents.
One of the most notable incidences is on local artist Theo Thomson who recorded a video of what he encountered at one centre in the commercial capital Blantyre.
In the video the artist is questioned on his nationality and threatened of what may come if he does not stop recording the video.
Uploaded on his facebook page, the video has hundreds of comments many of which are against what Thomson was subjected to with others narrating the hurdles they had to endure during the process of getting registered.
Some of the comments state that the people responsible should be ‘held accountable’ and that facing discrimination because of skin colour is ‘disgusting’ and ‘appalling’.
There has been an outrage on Social Media over the matter, as victims of discrimination have been naming and shaming centres where they faced abuse from Registration officials.
Fears are also being raised that minority groups will not be represented in the 2019 Election, as they are currently being frustrated by some Registration officials.
According to Media sources, the ID will be a crucial document in the identification of eligible voter registrants.
The National ID cards are being issued to all Malawian citizens aged 16 and above, while children under the age of 16 can be registered by their parents or legal guardians.
The Government of Malawi through the National Registration Bureau-NRB is conducting the exercise with funding and technical expertise from the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP).