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Mudede faces litigation

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FORMER Zimbabwe National Students’ Union secretary-general and aspiring Epworth constituency lawmaker Zivai Mhetu has approached the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) seeking assistance to stop Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede’s national identity registration exercise.

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Mhetu, in a letter to ZLHR, argues Mudede’s programme was “prohibitive”.

“We have noted that the right to participate in an election, right to citizenry and the right to identity is being infringed upon Epworth residents due to the restrictive conditions set by registration officers at the mobile registration at Domboramwari.

“Therefore, we are appealing for an urgent chamber application through your grace to compel the Registrar-General to relax the prohibitive requirements for one to be registered as a citizen,” Mhetu said.

A ZHLR official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said while the rights lobby group had received Mhetu’s request, it was yet to be processed.

“We will only be in a position to comment on this issue once the letter has been assessed by our lawyers. As of now, it is still a request that will be considered just like any other,” the official said.

According to Mhetu, Mudede’s officers were demanding as much as $50 from people originally registered as aliens, but now want to change their status, and $10 for replacement of lost or defaced identity cards.

Mudede, Mhetu claims, was also demanding $5 in order to issue certificates of birth to children aged six years and above.

“People with handwritten certificates of births are also being forced to pay $5 to get computer-printed ones. We believe that the national registration should be free and charging such services is akin to fundraising by the government,” Mhetu said.

Mudede, who for long has been accused of poll rigging before the establishment of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) as a separate entity, was roundly condemned last week after media reports he had claimed citizens with metal national identity cards would not be allowed to vote in elections expected next year.

Zec was last week forced to issue a statement disputing Mudede’s claims and declaring all citizens legally registered would be eligible to vote.

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