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Registrar decries late birth registrations

by Staff reporter
02 Aug 2019 at 07:48hrs | Views
IT is an offence not to register a child within 42 days of birth and more needs to be done by way of publicity to ensure people know the importance of the requirement, Mashonaland Central provincial registrar Mr Tafadzwa Nyandoro has said.

Appearing before the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission's Mashonaland Central National Inquiry on Access to Documentation in Zimbabwe in Bindura on Tuesday, Mr Nyandoro said less than five percent of birth registrations were being done within the 42-day period.

"According to the Births and Deaths Registration Act, it is an offence not to register a child within 42 days of its birth," he said.

Sadly, very few people know of this requirement and the few that do will not bother to take heed.

"Other known factors which prevent ease of access to the birth certificate include inaccessibility of registration offices, especially to rural communities. In Mashonaland Central, we have one provincial office, eight district offices and 22 sub-offices.

"While this is commendable, sadly these are not sufficient. In the last 10 years, we have only had two mobile registration exercises due to resource constraints."

Mr Nyandoro said they were facing challenges in establishing the actual nationalities of people who lived along border areas.

"In areas bordering Zambia and Mozambique, especially in Mbire, Muzarabani, Mt Darwin and Rushinga, there are communities who live along the border line and it is often difficult to establish their actual nationality," he said.

Parents may be from different sides of the border and they do not hold travel documents and neither do they cross the border procedurally.

"It is difficult to register these people's families. When we tell them of our requirements, they have been asking us to change our legislation in order to make it easy to account for their families.

"There is need for the Registrar Department to set up an Information and Publicity Department. There is also need for all stakeholders with interests in the issue of official documentation to help and assist the department in as far as spreading and disseminating information.

"A lot could change if we all co-operate in spreading the requirement for the mandatory registration of a child before its attains six weeks. Many people come to our office ill-equipped on what we provide and the requirements for these services. Many people criticise our requirements because they do not understand the importance of security in terms of identity."

On the decentralisation of passport issuance, Mr Nyandoro said: "Many criticise the lack of decentralisation of passport issuance because they do not know that a passport is a treasured national document which cannot be risked by being issued anywhere."

He called for the mobile registration to be done once in every two years to ensure that people in accessible areas are reached.

Mr Nyandoro said there was need to align laws like the Citizenship Act with the new Constitution, as the officials are finding it difficult to effectively discharge their duties.

"The citizenship issue is still a grey area until the Act is aligned to the new Constitution, he said. Our hands remained tied until the Citizenship Act is aligned to the Constitution."

Mr Nyandoro lamented the poor office accommodation they have in outlying areas like Muzarabani.

Source - the herald