Government has waived all charges required to acquire civil documents such as identification cards or birth certificates during the 90-day registration blitz by the office of the Registrar General to allow more people to get the documents ahead of next year's general elections.
Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo told The Herald last night that the waiver was in response to a plea from the public that the charges were too exorbitant.
The fees charged by the Registrar General's Office have been ranging between $5 and $10 for replacing national identification cards. "The response from the public is that the 90-day civil registration blitz by the RG's office is a good programme, but the concern is that the $10 being charged for lost IDs and $5 for lost birth certificates and $50 for aliens is too high," said Dr Chombo.
"The request from all the provinces was that can this be waived so that people can get birth certificates and IDs. We have decided that for the duration of the blitz, all civil documents will be obtained for free, even those who lost.
"Some are saying they do not need to be asked too many questions before being issued with these documents, but the officers on the ground will use their discretion to ask those questions. "These are security documents and they should be issued judiciously.
"Of course, it will not make sense to ask a 72-year-old person to bring his or her parents, but village heads or other leaders in society can testify that they know that person. "Some of the bureaucracy will be reduced, but extra care will be taken."
Last week, Registrar General Mr Tobaiwa Mudede said: "Everything is in place. Every province now has the itineraries. "We appeal to all citizens to come forward and register for personal documents. On the turn out so far, we still have to check.
"We are not yet getting figures daily because people were setting up." Mr Mudede said for one to register for a particular document, certain requirements had to be met as prescribed by the law.
"We reaffirm that citizens should bring with them the birth confirmation records from health institutions and their identity document to enable them to register their child for birth certificate," he said.
"For those registering for national identity documents, they should produce their birth certificates.
"Those who do not meet the said registration requirements should not delay the registration process."