BY JAMES MUONWA
THE Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) has raised grave concern over rampant corruption, dereliction of duty and arrogance by staffers at the Registrar-General’s (RG) Office.
The RG’s Office is responsible for issuing birth certificates, national identity cards, passports, citizenships and death certificates.
ZHRC commissioner Joseph Kurebwa yesterday blasted officials from the RG’s Office for being corrupt and rude.
Kurebwa’s tongue-lashing followed complaints by witnesses giving oral evidence before a commission of inquiry on access to documentation in Zimbabwe in Chinhoyi yesterday.
He said there was widespread resentment for registry employees and warned of impending spontaneous public attacks on them.
“This is not the first time we are receiving complaints against the officers’ conduct which dampens citizens’ will to get documentation,” he said.
“Corruption and arrogance should not be tolerated and culprits should not go unpunished. There is resentment and bitterness and citizens might resort to unconstitutional means if they feel culprits are not being punished,” Kurebwa said, adding that decisive punitive measures must be meted against offenders.
A witness, Gwinyai Malunga of Trelawney, about 14km south-west of Banket, alleged that registry officials conducting a mobile registration exercise in his area had demanded a goat and chicken for them to facilitate his acquisition of a birth certificate and national identity card.
Mashonaland West provincial registrar, Kevin Maturi admitted there were cases of corruption that were reported against some officials.
He, however, said in most cases perpetrators go unpunished due to lack of co-operation by complainants.
“In most instances, clients do not co-operate when you ask them to identify culprits. It is a challenge to us as heads of departments and supervisors,” Maturi said.
ZHRC commissioner Kwanele Jirira urged the RG’s Office to embrace technology and install closed circuit television (CCTV) systems in order to nail corrupt officials.
“If cases of corruption are rife, why not ask for CCTVs to monitor your workers? This is a recommendation you can make,” Jirira said.
Meanwhile, ZHRC deputy chairperson Ellen Sithole, following concerns by witnesses, took pot-shots at the RG’s Office for failing to embrace mobile money platforms for payment of services.
The ZHRC is conducting an inquiry on access to documentation in Zimbabwe in Chinhoyi. Similar exercises have been held in eight other provinces.