The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and the National Registration Bureau (NRB) on Monday, 24th July 2023 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to solidify their partnership at a ceremony held at the Ministry of Homeland Security Boardroom in Lilongwe.
The MOU marks the second of its kind, reinforcing the relationship between the two institutions as thh country prepares for the upcoming General Election scheduled for 16th September 2025.
Representing MEC were Justice Dr. Chifundo Kachale, Chairman of MEC, accompanied by Commissioners Caroline Mfune and Olivia Mchaju Liwewe, as well as Andrew Mpesi, the Chief Elections Officer.
The NRB delegation was led by Hon. Dr. Kenneth Reeves Zikhale Ng’oma, MP, the Minister of Homeland Security, along with Oliver Kumbambe, the Principal Secretary for Homeland Security, and Mphatso Sambo, the Principal Secretary for the NRB.
Justice Dr. Chifundo Kachale expressed gratitude for the positive collaboration between MEC and NRB, particularly in the context of voter registration for the 2019 and 2020 elections.
The MEC chairman acknowledged the benefits derived from the first MOU signed in 2017, which led to the electoral management benefiting from the civil register data in building in voters’ register. The Commission only captured text details of the voters and extrapolated biometric and photos from the national civil register to build a voters register. This was the clean and credible voters’ roll in history.
The Chairman of MEC stressed that the MOU formalizes the commitment of both institutions to work in unison to ensure the success of the 2025 elections. The agreement seeks to optimize service quality while minimizing expenses, drawing upon each institution’s specific mandates.
In his speech, the Minister of Homeland Security, Dr. Zikhale Ng’oma highlighted the significance of the MOU, emphasizing that it renews the longstanding relationship between MEC and NRB.
He clarified that while the MOU fosters cooperation, both institutions maintain separate mandates as established by the laws governing their operations.
The Minister stressed the importance of adhering to specified timelines for issuing national identity cards and directed the NRB to implement a fair and unbiased national outreach registration exercise, encouraging all citizens aged 16 and above to register.
The Minister also discussed ongoing initiatives to improve NRB’s services, including finalizing the offshore printing process and the procurement of additional printers to expedite service delivery.
He expressed confidence that these measures will enhance NRB’s effectiveness in serving citizens and stakeholders, including MEC.
With the MOU now in place, both MEC and NRB are poised to strengthen their collaboration as they work together to ensure credible, transparent, and successful General Elections in 2025.
The partnership between these two vital institutions stands as a testament to the commitment to upholding democratic principles and serving the people of Malawi effectively.
The signing of the MOU solidifies the well-coordinated partnership between MEC and NRB, paving the way for seamless cooperation in implementing the operational aspects of voter registration. The agreement serves as a guiding document, ensuring a harmonious collaboration that ultimately benefits the nation.