It is easier for a single mother than a single father to obtain a birth certificate for a child because as they say in Shona, gomba harina mwana, the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi said last week.
Responding to questions about how single parents can obtain birth certificates in the absence of the other parent, Ziyambi said it was easier for mothers than father to obtain birth certificates for their children because ordinarily fathers do not take care of the child.
“So we need to be sure that the mother is there. For us to register a child in the absence of the mother, we then require you to bring proof that the mother is there for us to register.
“We have set procedures that if the mother is not there, certain relatives can accompany the father so that the child can get a birth certificate. In Shona we say gomba harina mwana, so we need to be very sure that it is indeed the father,” he said.
Q & A
MRS. NYAMUPINGA: My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs. I want to find out the Government policy on birth registration of children of single parents and orphans that have guardians who are trying to register them. I want to be very clear on the issue of witnesses. It is making it difficult for people to get registered. Is it Government policy that you must bring a witness in order to be registered? What is the number of witnesses required as stated on the policy?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFAIRS (MR. ZIYAMBI): The issue of birth registration of orphans and people whom we cannot ascertain their parents; the department requires that witnesses come to ascertain that the child that is being registered was born in Zimbabwe and is a Zimbabwean citizen. It is a security issue and we have to be sure and it will stay like that.
MR. C.C. SIBANDA: I would like to ask in the same vein. Why is it that the mother can register a child without the father but the father cannot register a child in the absence of the mother?
MR. ZIYAMBI: I would like to thank the hon. member for clarifying the position as it obtains. If it is the mother, she can register but if it is the father, ordinarily, you do not take care of the child so we need to be sure that the mother is there. For us to register a child in the absence of the mother, we then require you to bring proof that the mother is there for us to register.
MR. C. C. SIBANDA: Mr. Speaker, this is still not clear. This is affecting a lot of people in my constituency. The mothers would have gone to South Africa and they are nowhere to be seen but the Constitution says that there is 50-50 responsibility on the child. The issue here is that we are concerned about the child, when the mother is nowhere to be located. This is happening in my constituency. A lot of mothers have abandoned children and left them with the father and the children cannot be registered. The children cannot even go to school.
MR. ZIYAMBI: We have provisions which allow for registration of children in that category and no child will fail to go to school because they cannot obtain a birth certificate because we have set procedures that if the mother is not there, certain relatives can accompany the father so that the child can get a birth certificate.
In Shona we say gomba harina mwana, so we need to be very sure that it is indeed the father. I thank you.