CSOs help people in Matabeleland get identity documents

For a number of reasons people in Matabeleland region of Zimbabwe struggle to get identity documents.

One of the reasons is that there are many people who were affected by the civil conflict in the area of the early 1980’s also known as the Gukurahundi.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) in collaboration with the Election Resource Centre (ERC) have been carrying out documentation clinics in the region to assist potential voters to get documented and registered to vote.

The initiative is part of broader efforts to urge people register to vote ahead of the 2018 harmonised elections in Zimbabwe.

ZimRights engaged Abammeli Lawyers for Human Rights network to do documentation of beneficiaries, where they assisted in drafting of affidavits to enable them to acquire either birth certificates or IDs.

The program is currently running in Cebatswa Farm, where the first beneficiaries were transported to the Registrar General’s office in the nearby city of Bulawayo.

Abammeli engaged one Mrs Peters, who is the provincial registrar and arrangements were made that there be a mobile birth and deaths registration centre at Trenance a few kilometres from the farm.

Apart from registering to vote, the program is also encouraging citizens to participate in local governance issues that affect them in their communities.

Through the documentation project, the beneficiaries are also being allowed to have a sense of national belonging in Zimbabwe, which had been compromised by the appearance of statelessness.

The initiative was also meant to ensure that people enjoy all the rights enshrined in the constitution such as the right to education for children, freedom of movement and residence.

Meanwhile, the door to door voter mobilization campaigns being carried out by ZimRights and ERC have seen an increase in the number of people that visit the office seeking birth certificates and IDs.

However, the bid make as many people as possible have identity documents has seen set-backs.

On December 5, the Registrar General’s Office ran out of material for IDs and waiting passes, resulting in them calling off the exercise,

The said it would resume on December 11 when a limited amount of the material was expected to arrive.

Source: ZimRights