ID nightmare for border communities

13 Aug, 2019 - 00:08 0 Views

The Herald

Cletus Mushanawani Mashonaland Central Bureau Chief
THE Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission has called for marginalised communities like the Doma people from Kanyemba in Mbire and other border areas to be assisted in obtaining identification documents.

Speaking at the end of the three-day public hearings on the National Inquiry on Access to National Documentation in Zimbabwe last week, the panel’s chairperson, Dr Ellen Sithole, said they had encountered peculiar cases that needed urgent address, especially among marginalised communities.

“The main challenges people are facing in accessing national documents include failure to meet the requirements for the renunciation of citizenship by so-called aliens, in particular the RTGS$5 000 being demanded by the Registrar-General’s Office,” she said.

The issue of poverty also came out strongly as people are failing to raise money to travel to the relevant offices to obtain birth certificates.

“It was also noted that there is limited service at sub-offices and mobile registration exercises leading to referrals to district and provincial offices especially with regards to passports and dual citizenship issues.

“We also noted that some people, especially orphans, complained of lack of birth confirmation records as a deterrent for them to obtain birth certificates. Some documents have wrongly recorded information such as sex of the child, wrong spellings and dates of birth. We encountered an issue where a date of birth was given as September 31, yet everyone knows that the month of September ends on the 30th.”

Dr Sithole cited cultural barriers as some of the hindrances to obtaining important documents.

“Our findings indeed confirm the challenges being experienced by a significant component of the population in accessing identity documents,” she said.

“Because Mashonaland Central is endowed with farms and mines, citizenship issues featured significantly. We urge the Registrar-General’s Office to ensure that these people do not continue to be marginalised. Marginalised communities like the minority Doma people from Kanyemba and other borderline areas of Kairezi and Mukumbura as well as people with disabilities need special consideration in terms of access to documentation.”

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