MHRC to investigate registration of minors

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By Jayne Kaonga

The Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) is investigating reports of the capturing of underage children in the National Registration Bureau’s (NRB) data base in relation to upcoming fresh presidential voters roll.

There have been critical reports of alleged registration of minors by the NRB for national ID cards to make them eligible to register as voters in the upcoming fresh presidential poll.

According to the MHRC, references have been made of incidences in Phalombe district and other districts across the country where politicians were ferrying children to NRB registration centres.

Furthermore, some traditional chiefs are alleged to have been facilitating the illegal process by providing letters certifying the children to have reached the eligible age.

Consequently, the ages of the registered children were altered to 18 years or more so they could be eligible to vote in the impending fresh presidential election.

After instituting primary investigations and confirming such incidences in a number of registration centres, the MHRC stresses that the Malawian child needs complete protection hence the need for an exhaustive probe on the matter.

The Commission assures the public that it will investigate the matter in every district where registration had already taken place.

The inquiry’s core objective, according to the commission, is to establish the extent of the malpractice considering that it has a number of political, economic, social and cultural implications on the concerned children.

The MHRC is therefore asking the public to provide details of any child who was registered as an adult during the suspended voter registration exercise.

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