Low IDs uptake in Matabeleland

HARARE - Members of Parliament’s thematic committee on Peace and Security have queried why the Matabeleland region recorded low numbers during the national identity documentation (ID) issuance blitz by the Registrar-General (RG)’s office.

This comes amid concerns that most people in the region have been failing to get IDs, with some alleging it is due to most of them not having birth certificates after having lost their parents and guardians to the Gukurahundi atrocities.

However, the RG Tobaiwa Mudede argued that the low numbers had nothing to do with Gukurahundi.

In the 1980s about 20 000 civilians were massacred in Matabeleland and nearby regions.

Out of the total 393 898 national IDs issued by the RG in September, only 52 911 were from Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Bulawayo.

MDC Senator for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, Dorothy Khumalo blamed the low registration on the strict requirements imposed by the RG, which she said affected Gukurahundi victims.

“I am seeing Bulawayo has the least registration. You know a lot of them had their parents who died and they died without them having acquired birth certificates.

“The relatives have now grown old some have died because of the situation which happened there. What is going to happen to them? Are they going to remain like that, because they are even worse than aliens as they can be given IDs while those ones cannot,” she said during a hearing on preparedness for 2018 elections on Thursday.

Mudede, however, insists that Gukurahundi was not a factor causing that but rather rampant issues of people who had migrated to neighbouring South Africa and leaving them here with old grandparents and relatives.

“We haven’t finished with Matabeleland. I went to Tsholotsho and the children...dismissed that myth...I addressed them, I had the deputy minister, I had MPs there. The issue of children who are coming, those old parents...has been talked about.

“You need to go and talk to the people on the ground, they will tell you there is nothing like that. We said tell us, who is it who is not registered after that time (Gukurahundi).

“We have gone for more than 30 years, the same reasons are being used. Our law says the nearest relative can register. Now those people who are being talked about, where were they when we had other registrations, this is not the first time,” Mudede argued.

The senators tasked Mudede to look into other technicalities and challenges that could be causing the low IDs registration in the region, arguing the numbers were “astounding” compared to other provinces.

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