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ID Processing Delays Annoy Mutare Residents

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By Staff Reporter


MUTARE residents have accused the Office of the Registrar General of inordinate delays in issuing out documents such as national identity cards and birth certificates.

After a long Covid-19 induced lockdown break, the district registry office is only processing 60 identification documents per day.

These include birth and IDs with first preference being given to those with authorisation letters from work or school warranting their need for Identity documents.

Local groups, Conscious Development and Empowerment Trust (CODET) together with Election Resource Centre (ERC) have since written to District Registry Office expressing concern over the small number of identification documents which are being processed despite the long break by the registry.

The two NGOs bemoaned the slow paces processing of the important documents saying this will have debilitating effects on the number of youths who will be eligible to vote in the forthcoming elections.

During the Zanu PF Provincial Coordinating Committee held at Mutare Hall over the weekend, prominent businessman Isau Mupfumi was endorsed as Zanu PF candidate for Dangamvura-Chikanga constituency by-election.

The seat fell vacant after MDC Alliance legislator Prosper Mutseyami was recalled by MDC-T.

Many youths feel they may be denied the opportunity to elect a house of assembly representative of their choice when by-elections are declared.

In the letter directed to registry office, CODET and ERC noted that Mutare District Registry office is only processing documents for 60 people per day specifically those in possession of authorising letters from work or schools which warrants their need for IDs.

The groups requested the District Registry’s office to ensure that Identity Documents are made available to all as stipulated by law saying if the process was not expedited, this will have ripple effects on people’s rights to electoral processes.

“Identity documents are a constitutional right, essential for one to claim their right to Zimbabwean citizenship, to be able to participate in the socio-economic and political development of the country and for one to be able to register to vote.

“The approach taken by the District Registry to only assist a specific number of people per day disenfranchises citizens and has a direct bearing on the ability of the populace to participate in electoral processes,” said the right groups.

A visit to the Registrar’s office brings to light a desperate situation faced by many people most of whom are repeatedly  being turned away.

“They are processing a few documents and I have been turning away. I need an ID to open a bank account, but I was told to try my luck May 13,” said a local resident.

CODET Director Vimba Berete called on Registry’s Office to expedite the process of accessing IDs or Birth certificates so that citizens could access their Identity documents without any unnecessary delays.

“People are pre-booking to access services and those who booked today (13 April) can only access the services on May 11.

“This means that a person will have to wait for four weeks in order to access an ID or birth certificate.

“This is inconsiderate since the office has not been operating for a very long time due to lockdown restrictions.

“The demand for the documents has surged and they should work round the clock to bring the situation to normalcy.

“This situation has a possibility of infringing on our constitutional rights,” said Berete.