CSO petitions Parly over IDs, birth certificates acquisition requirements

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TWO civil society groups Habakkuk Trust and the Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust (SAPST) have threatened to petition Parliament to push for a further relaxation of requirements for one to acquire a birth certificate and national identity documents (ID’s).

By NQOBANI NDLOVU

The Registrar-General’s (RG) Office last month rolled out a mobile registration exercise to run till November 30, and according to Habakkuk Trust and SAPST, their investigations reveal that the exercise is not user-friendly.

The two civic groups on Friday held a consultative workshop in Bulawayo at a local hotel to gather views from several organisations on tackling the frustrations.

The meeting was attended by among others, Christian Legal Society, Masakhaneni Trust, National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango) and Habakkuk Trust community action teams from Bulawayo, Matobo, Nkayi, Bubi, Thsolotsho and Mangwe.

“We were gathering input from different organisations on the issue of accessing birth certificates and ID’s. Having a birth certificate and ID is a constitutional right, but we find out that the process is cumbersome, especially for children born outside Zimbabwe.

“The process is also not friendly for old people, particularly Gukurahundi victims in Matabeleland. It is thus we resolved to petition Parliament this week for the relaxation of some of the conditions and requirements for one to access these registration documents,” Dumisani Nkomo, the Habakkuk Trust coordinator told Southern Eye.

The requirements for birth registration are contained in the Births and Deaths Registration Act (Chapter 5:02) which law has been severally amended. In terms of Section 10 of the Act it is mandatory for every child to be immediately registered irrespective of the parents’ country of origin. The birth certificate confirms and confers the citizenship of Zimbabwe by birth.

Children born outside the country have been facing problems in acquiring birth certificates due to the numerous documentation required and the $50 fee. The RG has, however, scrapped the fees under the on-going mobile registration exercise.

However, the RG Tobaiwa Mudede in June said his department will not relax the birth registration process as there is a danger of fueling child trafficking and registering children that are not Zimbabweans.

This has resulted in hundreds of pupils dropping out of school after failing to write examinations because they had no birth certificates. Thousands of people affected by the Gukurahundi massacres also struggle to access birth certificates and ID’s