Namibia: Pensioners Spend Night Outside Constituency Office for IDs

Several people, some of them pensioners, spent Tuesday night outside the John Pandeni constituency office in Windhoek to secure spots in the queue for national documents.

This follows an announcement by regional councillor Shaalukeni Moonde that the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security will be conducting an outreach programme for obtaining national documents from 21 to 31 May.

Moonde has confirmed the ongoing registration process, saying most stateless people registering were referred from other constituencies - mostly from the Samora Machel and Moses Garoëb constituencies - after failing to register at their constituencies.

"All constituencies have been given different days to register. Those who couldn't make it at other regional offices, were told to come here.

"Nobody will be turned away. We are going to assist them all," he said.

Moonde said the first 100 people were given numbers as a guarantee that they would be assisted. Those who didn't receive numbers, could return the following day he said. "We can't rush the process. We want to avoid errors and make sure we do things properly. Most people can't read or write, which makes the process extremely slow," Moonde said. Martha Paulus (36) from Havana informal settlement says she has been seeking assistance to obtain national documents for the past three decades.

"I have been coming here for the past two days, and I wasn't assisted because the queue was extremely long, but today I am hopeful that I will register, since I am the first person in the queue," she said.

Ester Daniel (34) from Ombili, the mother of five children, said she was born at Engela in the Ohangwena region and moved to Windhoek in 2000 when she was 10.

When asked how she managed to enrol her children at school without birth certificates, she said they attend school regardless.

Nazareth Mweutota (32), who has been living in Namibia for 18 years, said his parents were born in Namibia, while he was born in Angola and has four children in Namibia.

"We are grateful and happy to hear the news, however the process is too slow. I suggest the regional council assign more people to assist us the same way it's done during election time," he said. Home affairs minister Albert Kawana last month revealed that more than 141 048 people have been identified and registered as stateless and undocumented in Namibia.

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