National registration exercise fails to commence in Likoma

Likoma, The ongoing national registration exercise failed to commence in Likoma District on Tuesday as scheduled following failure by registration team to arrive on the island.

District Assistant Registrar, Stains Naison Kumwenda, told Malawi News Agency (Mana) that the registration team failed to make it to the island because of long queues of registrants in Lilongwe District which is in the same phase with Likoma.

On Tuesday evening, National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) volunteers were seen going around the island with a megaphone telling people not to go to registration centres on Wednesday until further notice.

District Commissioner (DC) for Likoma, Charles Mwawembe, told Mana on Friday at the end of a tour of all registration centres by the District Registration Task Force (DRTF) that Likoma was ready for the registration exercise.

In his submission before the DRTF, NICE’s Civic Education Officer for Likoma, Patrick Jonathan Chikoti, said every citizen in the district has been reached with awareness messages.

NICE is in partnership with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in awareness campaign to ensure registration messages reach every Malawian citizen.

We targeted churches and other religious gatherings; cultural gatherings like Mganda and Chioda festivals, funerals and village meeting across both islands of Likoma and Chizumulu. Likoma Community Radio too has helped us a lot in disseminating the information, Chikoti said.

Likoma being a border district with neighbouring Mozambique and Tanzania had caused worry among some stakeholders on how only bonafide Malawians were going to be identified during the exercise.

But NICE, in collaboration with DRTF, had been assuring the public on measures put in place to screen out non Malawians during the exercise.

They also warned Malawians against aiding foreigners to register and giving false information saying they risk being arrested.

There are seven centres in Likoma; five on Likoma and two on Chizumulu islands.

According to National Statistics Office’s (NSO) projection, about 6179 islanders are expected to register.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA