Zimrights puts govt under pressure over national IDs

By Nhau Mangirazi

KAROI- Some of Karoi residents have called on Zimbabwe Human  Rights Association to help them access national identity (IDs) cards that have remained elusive due to many challenges affecting the Registrar General’s (RG) offices countrywide.

Speaking during a human rights workshop held in Karoi town recently, several people complained that efforts to have IDs has become a nightmare without any potential to have it rectified.

Among those affected are relatives of some deceased who are battling to get birth certificates so that the orphans can access basic rights such as education or social welfare benefits.

Luke Tavhringwa said the requirements needed to get documents such as birth certificates complicate the future of several thousands of children among them orphans and vulnerable.

‘We are battling to get birth records as the parents are deceased and officials from RG offices can’t help us either. It is like a puzzle that is hard for majority of us around,’ he complained.

Julia Moffat who lost her identity card several years ago said she is now using her passport but it is not secure for her.

‘RG officials told me to buy fuel as electricity is hardly available and this has put me off. Failure to get a n ID is another way of infringing on our rights as women. We are appealing to Zimbabwe Human Rights Association to come on board and make a public meeting with these officials so that we map the way forward,’ she added.

There was no immediate official response from RG’s office but sources said it was unprofessional for any officer to demand fuel so that citizens can get IDs.

‘‘From my understanding the move for requesting fuel is unprofessional and if proven someone will be reprimanded as these are public offices funded by the State.

However, Reverend Isaac Chamonyonga who facilitated the meeting said it was imperative to engage RG officials by using church leaders as they are well respected in societies.

‘We can tackle the issue by breaking communication barriers between RG office and citizens. Church leaders can play a critical role to break the impasse so that IDs can be accessible to everyone who needs them at any time,’ he added.

Zimbabwe Human Rights Association national chairperson Takesure Musiiwa called on Government to play its service delivery role to citizens without prejudice.

He said IDs saga is a national crisis that they are concerned with.

‘As Zimbabwe Human Rights Association, we stand for human rights and our approaches for issues are human rights based including right to an ID that is a human right. We have traveled around the country educating citizens that getting an ID is not a favor from RG’s office to access an ID but it’s a basic human right. We challenge the Government to prioritize issuing of IDs to its citizens,’ said Musiiwa.

Human rights defender Godwin Gutsa said Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission was failing on its mandate by not putting RG’s officials to task and be accountable.

‘Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission has failed to make headway on the IDs crisis and this is clear abuse of human rights. We want them to decentralize their operations so that RGs officials are accountable to the citizens,’ said Gutsa.

Several participants bemoaned the IDs crisis that has turned a political where some are issued without resistance and requirements.

‘Few days before generals elections these requirements are scrapped off and why not make it as part of the whole system for the citizens?, complained another participant, Edson Karichi.

He added that social and economic crisis was affecting civil servants morale that is too low to work.