By Daniel Nemukuyu
Registrar-General Mr Tobaiwa Tonneth Mudede has agreed to issue a passport to United Kingdom-based Zimbabwean journalist Violet Gonda, who last week unsuccessfully applied for the travel document because she was “blacklisted”.
Gonda, who returned home early this year after spending 17 years in the UK, is among several Zimbabweans blacklisted by Government.
She recently applied for a passport, but Mr Mudede denied her the document on the basis that she is blacklisted although she had paid the passport fees.
According to Gonda’s court papers, Mr Mudede told her that she is on the “Stop List”, therefore, she could not be issued with a passport.
She has been in the country covering the run-up to the July 30 polls and post-election period.
Mr Mudede on Monday filed a notice of opposition at the High Court in which he climbed down on his office’s earlier position and consented to issue Gonda the document.
Mr Mudede accused Gonda of rushing to court without exhausting all the available remedies.
“The application is not necessary as applicant has not been denied a passport by my office. After she encountered some administrative problems with the officer who attended to her, applicant should have escalated her issue to a senior person in my office.
“If this had been done, the issue would have been resolved without the need to approach this court . . . My position is that applicant is a citizen of Zimbabwe and is entitled to the document that she applied for. The so-called stop list does not apply to her,” said Mr Mudede.
Gonda filed her application at the High Court on August 28, in which she cited Mr Mudede and the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage as respondents.
She wanted the court to compel Mr Mudede to issue her with a Zimbabwean passport.
Gonda also wanted the court to declare that Mr Mudede’s conduct violated her rights, citing various sections of the Constitution to prove her case.
In her application, Gonda claims she was barred from returning home by the previous administration because she works for SW Radio.
The radio station was viewed as hostile to former president Mr Robert Mugabe’s government. Gonda argued that by virtue of being a Zimbabwean born to Zimbabwean parents she met the criteria required to be issued with a passport,.
In this regard, she argued that her citizenship cannot be revoked in terms of the law, saying her status is beyond question.
Gonda said the fact that she was placed on the stop list since 2002 meant that she has already suffered injury given that she has been exiled from her own country for fear of the worst.
She accused Mr Mudede of trying to reverse the gains of President Mnangagwa’s new dispensation that opened up democracy and allowed people to exercise their rights and freedoms. The Herald