WATCH: Huge turnout for births registration

The Chronicle

Chronicle Reporters

THE mobile registration exercise aimed at issuing more than two million birth and death certificates as well as national identity documents started countrywide yesterday with a huge turnout as people thronged various centres to acquire the primary documents.

The exercise is part of efforts by Government to ensure all citizens have access to primary documents.

The exercise is in line with the dictates of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) and has also been planned to coincide with the forthcoming national census and next year’s harmonised elections.

In Bulawayo, Chronicle visited Entumbane Hall and Milton Junior School and observed residents, a majority of them youths, queuing to access the vital documents.

Residents queue to get national identity cards during the first day of the national mobile registration exercise by the Civil Registry Department at Entumbane Hall in Bulawayo yesterday, and (picture right) officers attend to residents at the hall

Officials who spoke to Chronicle said the process went on smoothly with an overwhelming response from members of the public.

The static centres in Bulawayo include Tredgold Civil Registry Office, Emsitheli at Drill Hall, Nketa and Pumula housing offices and Mpilo Central Hospital.

There are also mobile centres that would be issuing documents at selected schools, community halls among others.

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Mrs Grace Ndlovu of Entumbane suburb commended the Government for launching the blitz, saying it will go a long way in addressing challenges faced by citizens in terms of acquiring identity documents.

“For the past three years, I have been struggling to acquire a national identity document after I lost one.

Each time I visited the Civil Registry Offices, I would get so many excuses after having queued for hours until I gave up,” she said.

“Today, I am glad I finally got the ID and you can imagine how excited I am.”

Kent Mubirwa (18) could not contain his joy as he held his identity document as he left Entumbane Hall.

“I am so happy after securing a national identity document, which enables me to vote next year.

I wanted to vote in the just ended by-elections, but couldn’t because I didn’t have the requisite documents.

I have been going to EMsitheli almost every day and at times sleeping in the queue, but there was no joy,” he said.

“When I heard about this exercise, I told myself that this was my only chance to get an ID.

I woke up early thinking there would be a long queue, but it wasn’t the case.”

Miss Jane Ndlovu said: “The queues are moving fast and so far, we haven’t faced any challenges because the officials are attending to us in a swift manner and I am looking forward to getting my ID for the first time in my life.

The ID will enable me to open a bank account and vote next year.”

“Without an ID, you can’t do anything in life, so we laud Government for introducing this programme.’

Mr Luckson Dube of Suburbs said he had been queuing at the local Civil Registry Department offices for months without accessing the identity documents.

In Bulawayo, three teams were deployed at Milton Junior School, Entumbane Hall and Manondwane Primary School in Nketa suburb.

Authorities in Lupane, Hwange and Victoria Falls said they expected the number of people seeking to get identity documents to start increasing.

There was increased activity in Victoria Falls yesterday as more people turned up seeking to get birth certificates and national identity documents, according to officials from the registry office.

Speaking in Binga recently, President Mnangagwa implored the Home Affairs Ministry to decentralise the registration exercise to wards and respective chiefs especially in Binga for scores of unregistered youths to get identity documents.

In the Midlands province, the mobile registration exercise was characterised by the deployment of officers to the 59 centres across the eight administrative districts making up the province.

The deployment of teams started on Thursday evening and into yesterday morning.

Officials from the Provincial Registrar’s office speaking on condition of anonymity said registration was expected to start in earnest tomorrow.

The Civil Registry offices including the mobile centres are open from 7AM to 7PM between Monday and Friday and 7AM to 4PM during weekends and public holidays.

The exercise, to run until September 30, is expected to clear the backlog in document issues that have been accumulating during the Covid-19 lockdowns, when the Civil Registry was only processing burial orders.

The blitz, which is being spearheaded by Civil Registry Department, is mainly focusing on the issuance of births and deaths certificates and national identity documents.

In addition to mobile teams, all static registration offices will remain operational during this period.

Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe yesterday said with several teams having been deployed across the country, they expected the exercise to be a success.

“We have quite a number of people without these vital documents and through this exercise, which we have just started as part of Government intervention, we hope to have at least two million people documented during this exercise,” he said.

Minister Kazembe said President Mnangagwa has ordered the relaxation of requirements to get national documents to ensure that citizens benefit from the mobile exercise.

The exercise is also set to benefit thousands of people in the Matabeleland region who have complained that they were failing to get the documents.

For those affected by the Gukurahundi episode, the Civil Registry department will work under the guidance of traditional leaders to ensure that they are documented.

In January, chiefs in the region indicated that they had started compiling a database of community members who had no IDs as part of efforts to address challenges that were rooted in post-independence disturbances.

This was after President Mnangagwa mandated traditional leaders to take a leading role in addressing the problems that were caused by Gukurahundi.

Families that were affected by the Gukurahundi episode had been complaining that they were failing to acquire the necessary documents since in some cases their parents died.

Lack of critical national documents has seen a few people, especially in Matabeleland provinces, failing to register to vote during the first phase of voter registration exercise, which was rolled out by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) between February 1 to February 28.

The mobile registration exercise will therefore provide an opportunity for citizens to obtain national identity documents which enable them to register to vote in next year’s harmonised elections.

Civil Registry Offices across the country have been saddled with a backlog of documents for some time as Zimbabweans try to get identification documents.

In an effort to eliminate corruption, foster efficiency, effectiveness and to enhance revenue collection in the Civil Registry, Government has adopted a five-year strategy that seeks to automate and modernise work processes in the relevant departments.

This will see continued decentralisation of offices to complement existing ones.

The Civil Registry Department currently has 10 provincial registries, 62 district offices and 207 sub-offices throughout the country.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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