Govt denies journalist passport

HARARE - Veteran journalist, Violet Gonda, has approached the High Court seeking to overturn government’s decision banning her from acquiring a passport.

Yesterday, Gonda filed an urgent chamber application after the Registrar-General (RG) Tobaiwa Mudede knocked back her application for the passport as her name appeared on the blacklist.

Through her lawyer, Denford Halimani of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), Gonda, cited Mudede and minister of Home Affairs Obert Mpofu as the first and second respondents, respectively.

Gonda wants the High Court to compel Mudede and Mpofu to issue her with a Zimbabwean passport and a declaratory order declaring the blacklist unlawful.

The broadcaster who is a Zimbabwean citizen by birth, said on August 8, officials at the RG’s office declined to issue her with a passport replacing the one that expired in 2002 during her time in the UK.

“After paying the pre-requisite fee of $253 which is the fee for a passport that is processed in three days, I duly submitted my application to one of the first respondents’ employees who thereafter returned the application to me with an endorsement written SL which I was made to believe that my application could not be processed to completion,” she said.

Upon making an enquiry as to why her application could not be processed, Gonda was informed that her name was on the Stop List and as a result Mudede was prohibited from issuing her with a passport.

Gonda said she was a Zimbabwean citizen by birth and had not renounced it.

“In this regard, I am advised that in terms of section 35 (3) (b) and (c) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe  Amendment (No.20), I am entitled to passports and other documents and to birth certificates and other identity documents issued by the State,”  Gonda said .

Gonda left Zimbabwe to pursue her tertiary education in the UK where she became part of news crew at the now-defunct Short Wave (SW) Radio Africa which was deemed critical of former President Robert Mugabe and his government.

Mugabe and his government blacklisted several journalists and rights activists who had either fled into the Diaspora or worked for organisations he suspected of undermining the Harare administration.

Gonda told the High Court that she was informed of the ban during her time in the UK and wasn’t convicted of any offence by a competent court to justify the ban.

“However, despite the drastic nature of the purported ban, I did not receive any official communication confirming the ban or that my citizenship had been revoked.

“I was not detained or questioned in any manner whatsoever for being a prohibited or wanted person and no warrant of arrest was or has ever been issued against me for being “illegally” in the country. Since December 2017, I had been in and out of the country a couple of times without any problems whatsoever.”

She wants the Stop List struck off.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.