By Bulawayo Correspondent
THE Registrar General‘s office in Bulawayo has partnered with apostolic sect members in ensuring that members of the white robbed church access national documents.
Some children from the church have been failing to acquire birth certificates because, according to the church tradition, they are born at home where they are not issued with official birth confirmation records.
The document a requisite for one to acquire a birth certificate and the national ID.
Leader of Johanne Masowe Gospel of Church, Manasa Joseph Chigwedere said before the church partnered the RG’s office, a lot of members’ offspring was failing to enrol in schools because of they did not have birth certificates.
Chigwedere said this last week when he appeared before the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) inquiry on access to documentation in the city.
“We had serious challenges with some of our children and members who did not have birth certificates.
“We visited the RG’s office and we engaged Mrs (Jane) Peters (Bulawayo Provincial Registrar) and her officials on how we could be assisted in acquiring birth certificates and other documents,” said Chigwedere.
The Johane Masowe leader said following the church’s engagement with the RG’s office, the sect was given a book to create a database of all members who are not registered.
“We produced two copies and handed one to the RG’s office. Each time we intend to register a person, we take our own register and the RG’s office produces its own.
“We compare. If the information tallies, we are assisted,” Chigwedere told the Commission.
The church leader said following the initiative, a lot of the sect’s members were now able to secure national identity documents for their children free of any hassles.
“Initially, the congregants were sceptical and did not take this process seriously. But after realising the impact of the programme, most members are now coming forward,” he said.
ZHRC chairperson, Elasto Mugwadi commended the RG’s office and the church for coming up with the initiative.
Mugwadi said lack of documentation negatively affected citizen’s enjoyment of constitutionally guaranteed rights such as access to education.
“Minors without birth certificates fail to be registered for Grade One while others fail to proceed to Form one,” he said.