Civil Registry issues over 3 million identity documents for free ahead of July elections

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By Anna Chibamu

AS Zimbabwe approaches its harmonised elections, the government has issued more than three million national identity documents to ‘undocumented people’, Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe told Parliament on Thursday.

Giving a ministerial statement on the voter registration Kazembe said the mobile registration exercise commenced in February to September last year with 3 203 389 people obtaining birth certificates, national identity documents and death certificates at no cost.

“The civil registry department conducted a mobile registry exercise which commenced on the 1st of February and ended on the 30th of September 2022.

“The documents were issued at no cost with some of the registration requirements relaxed to cater for as many people as possible. Documents issued included 1 804 256 birth certificates; 1 345 719 national identity documents and 53 414 death certificates totaling 3 203 389,” Kazembe told the Speaker.

The exercise surpassed the targeted 2 million.

The main purpose of the exercise was to reach all eligible Zimbabweans to obtain birth certificates, national identity documents as well as death certificates after several calls by MPs whose constituencies were affected.

Hatcliffe and Borrowdale also benefited from the national mobile registration with the Market Square mobile team which was under Harare Metropolitan Province issuing 1654 birth certificates and 1226 ID cards in Hatcliff while 101 birth certificates and 197 IDs were issued in Borrowdale between July and August, 2022.

According to the minister, the whole exercise called for a budget of $12.1 Billion.

“The amount included expenses for fuel, vehicle hire as well as remuneration for the 3000 members who were part of the exercise. However, out of the six months in which the mobile registration exercise was carried out only costs for 4 months were met. Those for the last two months are still outstanding.

“Payments to personnel who participated in this programme, Mr. Speaker Sir were done in monthly batches and it is saddening that the last payment made was for the month of July. Payments for August and September are still outstanding and we pray that the treasury releases these funds.

The minister highlighted that as the country approaches elections, there is a need for another mop-up mobile registration exercise.

“Preparations are under way to conduct a national mobile registration exercise before the general elections and we are also planning to ensure that we have this before the next Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) registration exercise.

“Dates for the mop-up exercise will be announced in due course,” he added.