AFRICAN registrars have called for realignment of legal frameworks and review on civil registration amid revelations that all 54 African countries still rely on colonial Acts.
BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI
The Commission of African Registrar-Generals (CARR) has been tasked to address the issue as soon as possible with Zimbabwe being voted as chair with Zambia and Cameroon becoming deputies.
Zimbabwe’s Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede was one of the advocates supporting the move saying that it was an Act mainly made for natives and black slaves.
“We are still using the ancient colonial Act of 1807-1920. It was a system which did not include black people. Only Europeans and Indians had the privilege to register so that they own resources,” Mudede said.
“It was only later extended to blacks that they enslaved during wars because they needed protection. It was a death sentence for a black man to have an affair with a white woman but they bedded many black women to have mulattos. That is how some black women managed to have documents and we need to do away with that and define ourselves in a way that suits us.”
Tanzania also echoed the same sentiments adding that out of its 43 million population, only 10% were registered due to unavailability of offices nearby and fees charged for one to own the documents.
Lesotho added that the new act to be implemented needed to tackle contemporary civil registration regularities.
Minister of Home Affairs Obert Mpofu bemoaned that many citizens did not have adequate civil documents.
“The importance of civil registration has not been well pronounced yet it provides the basis upon which every person is recognised.
“This may explain the neglect, which it has been subjected to by African governments. The failure to acknowledge our citizens has had a toll effect on them,” he said.
“ Civil registration plays a pivotal role in nation building and national documents enable people to be among others, be gainfully employed, buy properties, engage in economic trade, and vote for their representatives in parliament. It also facilitates the removal of deceased persons from the population registers.”
Oliver Chinganya Director of the African Centre for Statistics and Economic Commission for Africa ( ECA) called for collective members to give the committee more height and push for its sustainability given the vast resources African countries has.”
CARR will be presented at the 4th conference of ministers responsible for civil registration and vital statistics that will be held December 6-8, 2017 in Mauritania.
Upon endorsement by the ministers, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) will be the secretariat of conference of ministers which meets every two years.