Landmark Ruling For Zimbabwe Women

The ruling throws away a High court judgment that said she was not authorised by law to assist her child get a passport without the aid of the father.

In her judgment Makarau said women had the right to assist with the issuance of their children’s documents such as national Identity cards ,and passports.

“I have come to a conclusion that an application for a passport is not a juristic act and that the exclusive assistance of the minor child’s guardian is  not a legal requirement.On that basis the respondent (High court) erred in disallowing the applicant from assisting the minor apply for a passport and insisting that only the child’s guardian could assist. Both parents of a minor can assist a child to obtain a passport.

“Denying a minor child a passport because he or she has not been assisted by his or her natural guardian may amount to an unlawful abrogation of the minor’s rights to freedom of movement, and in Zimbabwe thre is no written law that specifically governs the application for and issuance of passport.Any abrogation to that  right has to be found in the constitution,”she ruled.

In January 2006 Margaret Dongo was turned away by the Registrar General’s Office while seeking to obtain a passport for her child Kudakwashe
Norman on the basis that she could not assist the child to obtain a passport, as she was not  the natural guardian of the child.

Aggrieved by the refusal she approached the High Court  of Zimbabwe alleging that the Bill of Rights in the constitution had been violated
in relation to her adding that she had been discriminated on basis of her gender and marital status.