By Daniel Nemukuyu
Registrar-General Mr Tobaiwa Mudede has been ruled offside by the High Court after he refused to issue an emergency passport to a 79-year-old ailing granny, who urgently required to travel to Namibia for specialist treatment.
Mrs Emmah Gireya, who was born in Zimbabwe to parents of Mozambican origin, argued that she was a Zimbabwean entitled to a travelling document like any other person.
However, the RG’s Office refused to issue her the document, demanding $5 000 for renewal of her citizenship which they believed had expired.
The RG’s Office argued that in terms of the Citizenship Regulations Statutory Instrument 12 of 2009, Ms Gireya was compelled to pay a levy of $5 000 for application of citizenship.
Such a demand was made despite a recent High Court judgment declaring all people with identity documents inscribed “Alien” and whose roots can be traced from a country in the SADC region, as Zimbabwean citizens with voting rights.
According to the judgment, such people must be treated like any other Zimbabweans.
Irked by the RG’s attitude, Ms Gireya, through the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court to compel the office to issue her with the travelling document.
High Court judge, Justice Thompson Mabhikwa, granted the relief sought and ordered the RG’s Office to issue Ms Gireya with the document within 48 hours.
“Pending issuance of a passport and any other identity documents to the applicant by the first respondent, the first respondent is prohibited from rendering the applicant’s certificate of citizenship to be expired,” ruled Justice Mabhikwa.
“The first respondent be and is hereby ordered to issue an emergency travel document to the applicant with immediate effect to enable her to travel to Namibia, that is to say, within 48 hours of the issuance of this order.”
Ms Gireya was born on May 9, 1939 in Harare of parents of Mozambican origin.
She holds a national identity document inscribed “Alien”.
In 1985, Ms Gireya successfully applied for Zimbabwean citizenship and received a certificate of registration.
“Interestingly, I was able to vote from 1985 to 2008 and was to all intents and purposes regarded as a full citizen of Zimbabwe with the rights, privileges, duties and benefits attaching to citizenship of Zimbabwe,” she said.
Ms Gireya, who suffers from a chronic illness called polyartralgia arthritis, was referred to a specialist in Namibia, but she did not have a passport.
She applied for one at the RG’s office in Kadoma without success.
She was referred to Harare where the RG remained adamant and failed to consider the woman’s dire situation.
After finding no joy, the elderly woman was left with no other option, but to approach the High Court with an urgent chamber application. The Herald