BY DARLINGTON MWASHITA
THE Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) has said a number of children in Matabeleland and Masvingo provinces are struggling to secure birth certificates after their fathers abandoned them and skipped the border into South Africa.
ZHRC is conducting nationwide public hearings on challenges faced by the citizens in acquiring national documents such as birth certificates, national identity cards, passports, citizenship for those formerly known as aliens and death certificates — to establish gaps and the extent of their unavailability among Zimbabweans.
ZHRC commissioner, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube told Southern Eye yesterday that so far, they had realised that a number of children in Matabeleland South, North and Masvingo provinces have no birth certificates since their biological fathers left for South Africa after siring them.
“In places such as Matabeleland South, North and Masvingo, the greatest problem we experienced was unavailability of men who impregnate women and disappear to work in South Africa.
They leave their wives with their children and disappear forever. So many of these men work in South Africa and forget their children, hence it’s hard for us to obtain documents for them,” Ncube said.
Scores of children of victims of the 1980s Gukurahundi massacres have also been failing to access national documents.
The most affected are from areas such as Silobela, Lower Gweru and Zhombe in the Midlands province and in the two Matabeleland provinces.
“Other cases are that the men and women do not have birth certificates for themselves. That is a great problem too when it comes to obtaining birth certificates for their children. In other situations you get men or fathers who die before acquiring birth certificates for their children,” he said.
Ncube said the programme had covered many areas in the country such as Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Masvingo, Midlands and they will be in Bulawayo soon.
The inquiry is expected to end in November.