STAFF WRITER 6 March 2017
HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF is forcing Mwenezi East
villagers to obtain birth certificates and identity cards for the purposes
of registering for the forthcoming by-election, a human rights group has
The poll – proclaimed by Mugabe on February 3, and gazetted in Statutory
Instrument 25A/2017 – will be held on April 8 to fill the vacancy left
following the demise of incumbent Zanu PF MP Joshua Moyo on December 22.
According to an alert by the Jestina Mukoko-led Zimbabwe Peace Project
(ZPP), the forced registration took place at Chingwizi Primary School in
Ward 13, of Mwenezi East from February 24 to March 1.
The organisation alleges that Zanu PF district official Hardlife Mudavanhu
and the Rutenga Registration Department were demanding $5 to $10 from
villagers in order to obtain the national documents for them.
Villagers who could not raise the money were being asked to sacrifice
their goats and chickens in order to obtain the national documents, ZPP
Those without money or livestock were not attended to.
“Ruling party cards and name tags were also given to those who
participated in the programme,” ZPP said in the alert. The Nomination
Court which sat at the Masvingo Magistrates’ Courts on February 17,
accepted four candidates for the by-election: Joosby Omar of the ruling
Zanu PF, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti-Chuma of the opposition Zimbabwe People
First (ZPF), Welcome Masuku of the National Consultative Assembly (NCA) as
well as Turner Mhango of the Free Zimbabwe Congress.
Home Affairs deputy minister Obedingwa Mguni said citizens may pay a small
fee in cases of re-issue of national documents.
He described the seizure of livestock for purposes of paying for national
documents as “outright criminal” and urged those affected to report the
culprits to the nearest police station.
According to Section 35(3) (c) of the Constitution, all citizens of
Zimbabwe – including citizens by registration – are entitled to birth
certificates and national IDs.
The Constitution does not make any provision for citizens to pay for the
services of the Registrar General using livestock.
“The actions of the Rutenga Registration Department amount to unjustified
deprivation of property of villagers who are already suffering from the
adverse economic conditions obtaining in the country.
“The ZPP urges the ministry of Home Affairs to investigate the officers
involved in this matter and take corrective action. Those who lost their
livestock under this scam must be restituted and the natural consequences
of the law must follow,”the ZPP report said.