By Blessings Mashaya
Former War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube has said Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede is caught in a time warp, complicating the issue of registration documents in a move reminiscent of the colonial era.
Dube, who is also the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services, told the National Assembly on Tuesday that he will soon summon Mudede to explain the inefficiency.
“We must understand that getting a registration certificate or any identity document is a right, it is not a privilege. We have to completely get away from that culture of making this very difficult. I appreciate that our Registrar General has been in this office since 1980 and that is a long time,” Dube said amid laughter from MPs.
“So, it might be that he did not change his mindset from what he adopted when he got the job. Our parliamentary portfolio committee is looking forward to invite him next week or thereabouts to come and answer a few questions. This is an issue which is burning in the minds of people, the whole country.”
Mudede is over 70 years of age and has been in charge of all elections held in Zimbabwe since 1981, amid accusations by the ruling Zanu PF’s rivals of ballot fraud favouring the governing party.
The country’s electoral processes are, however, now being overseen by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
This comes amid complaints that getting birth certificates, national identity cards or a passport is a nightmare characterised by long spells in queues and a customer service approach premised on deliberate menace by department officers.
Dube said his portfolio committee will take measures to address the lethargy.
“I would say that we adopted this as a culture even from the colonial days because the native commissioner usually had some junior officers who handled this and made sure that before you could get your identity document you had to really struggle.
“Now when you go to these offices, it is easier to solve a quantum mathematical problem than get the documents that you want because they make it extremely difficult. As a result most of our people are not registered.
“We have talked about children who do not have a father and because of that they cannot go to school because they cannot get birth certificates. The mother is alive, witnesses are there but they are still denied birth certificates because they do not know their fathers. In some instances the mother may not even know the father.” DailyNews