A 16-year-old boy is battling to stop the deportation of his Nigerian father who is languishing in jail awaiting deportation.
Although the boy is the substantive applicant in the matter, he sued the principal director of immigration and Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo through his father, Mr Bright Jerry Efe. Notwithstanding his application to regularise his stay, Mr Efe has since been arrested, convicted and sentenced to immediate deportation.
He is at Harare Remand Prison pending deportation.
As the natural guardian of the boy, Mr Efe is empowered at law to bring such an application in his name. In the court application filed in the High Court recently, Mr Efe is seeking an order declaring that Bright Jerry Efe (Junior) being a Zimbabwean citizen is entitled to have his father Bright Jerry Efe, reside with him in Zimbabwe.
“Applicant (Efe senior) is entitled to permanent Zimbabwean residency on account of the citizenship of his Zimbabwean born minor child Bright Jerry Efe (junior),” read part of the order sought.
Advocate Sylvester Hashiti instructed by Chadyiwa and Associates is acting for the boy in an application brought to High Court in terms of section 81(3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which deals with the rights of children.
In his affidavit, Mr Efe argued the boy’s mother, who is now late, was Zimbabwean. He claimed that the civil union between him and the boy’s mother entitled him to remain in Zimbabwe pursuant to the country’s immigration law.
“Upon the death of his mother, his father was given residence permits on the basis of compassion and to be able to provide financial support for himself and for applicant so he could reside in Zimbabwe,” read the court papers.
After the expiry of 10 years, Mr Efe applied for a permanent residence permit. The application is still pending in the immigration office. Mr Efe also argued that he qualified for permanent residence since he has been in Zimbabwe for more than 18 years.
He now considers Zimbabwe his permanent home. “Any decision otherwise would have serious irreparable consequences on applicant (boy),” he argued. Mr Efe said deportation was unlawful .
“They have led to a stripping of all his rights as a minor and as a citizen of Zimbabwe,” he said. He said the minor child had a constitutionally prescribed right to parental care under Section 81 (d) of the Constitution.
”The arrest and incarceration of his sole parent and the impending deportation has and will leave him without care, abode, parental protection or guidance,” said Mr Efe. He said an administrative authority cannot take punitive action for an offence and situation occasioned by their own delay.
Mr Efe said to do so would be to reward administrative misconduct. “It is to that extent of no legal effect and void. A declaratur to that effect in applicant’s favour is therefore due.
“In the circumstances, the applicant moves for an order in terms of the draft.” The immigration department and Minister Chombo are yet to file their responses to the application.