Sokwanele (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Identity, Citizenship, and the Registrar General - The Politicking of Identity in Zimbabwe

opinion

The Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) have released a new report on citizenship titled 'Identity, Citizenship, and the Registrar General: The Politicking of Identity in Zimbabwe'.

This report addresses a fundamental issue that most people are aware of, but rarely give much attention to until they are personally affected; acquiring identity documents and citizenship. It is common knowledge that there are many challenges that Zimbabwean citizens face in accessing identity documents. It is also widely known that the prominence of the 'alien' status in 2002 through the amendment of the Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act (Chapter 4.1) has seen some people losing their Zimbabwean citizenship; forced to identify themselves as other nationalities to which their descendants belonged such as Malawian or Mozambican.

This report is based on the views and experiences of a total of 160 Zimbabwean women from 9 different provinces of the country. It details women's perceptions of identity, the challenges they face in accessing identity documents and citizenship status as well as the consequences that losing or failing to access such documents and status has on the quality of their lives as well as the lives of their children. It also analyses the role that the Registrar General's (RG) office plays in making identity documents and citizenship inaccessible entitlements to the general public.

The paper makes recommendations based on these women's views and supporting evidence from previous analyses and press reportage; these recommendations would improve services that the RG's office gives to the public if implemented.

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