Identification card: Tanzania launches national identification programme – Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete said here Thursday that it is the right of every citizen, from age 18, to have a national identification card by 2015 so that the government could serve them more efficiently.
“There are many benefits of citizen identification in terms of social services, person-to-person relations and government administration,” Kikwete said at the launch of Tanzania’s first citizenship ID system, which involves fingerprinting and compilation of personal details that go with birth certification.
Preparations for the identification and registration of people resident in Tanzania began in November 2011 under the National Identification Authority (NIDA).
“It is an expensive exercise and the government is determined to carry it out fully,” the president said at the function that was witnessed by thousands of Dar es Salaam residents and foreign diplomats accredited to Tanzania.
Noting that the successful registration of nationals resident in this commercial capital as well as in the city of Zanzibar and Kilombero district in Morogoro Region as a pilot project, Kikwete urged all Tanzanians to cooperate with registration officials when the exercise extends to other parts of the country.
“Many people may start scrambling to get birth certificates now while they don’t deserve any. Local government and village functionaries have a great responsibility to recognise bona fide citizens and stop non-citizens from registration,” he said.
According to the president, the Ministry of Home Affairs experienced problems in issuing passports because non-citizen residents and refugees were also applying for Tanzanian passports.
Meanwhile, NIDA Director-General, Dickson E. Maimu, said the authority has also completed registration of civil servants in all ministries, government agencies and districts.
He said persons being registered must have with them identification documents, including birth certificates, baptismal certificates, voter’s cards, passports or a primary school leaving certificate.
At the ceremony, President Kikwete, former presidents Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Benjamin Mkapa as well as former Prime Ministers Salim Ahmed Salim and Joseph Sinde Warioba were handed their citizenship identifications.