Zvamaida Murwira, Harare Bureau
REGISTRAR General, Mr Tobaiwa Mudede, yesterday declined to divulge his age before legislators and questioned why out of all civil servants he was targeted to disclose when he was born.
This comes as Mr Mudede told MPs that 10,6 million people above 18 years were registered in his office database.
The figure showed that at least 4,5 million prospective voters were not yet registered given the fact that last month the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said it had registered 5,3 million voters under its Biometric Voter Registration blitz.
Mr Mudede said this while giving oral evidence before a Parliamentary Portfolio committee on Defence and Home Affairs chaired by Makokoba MP Cde Tshinga Dube (Zanu-PF) on issuance of primary documents.
Budiriro MP, Mr Costa Machingauta, had asked Mr Mudede to tell the committee his age with Musikavanhu legislator, Mr Prosper Mutseyami (both MDC-T) weighing in to say the nation was entitled to know his age since he was a civil servant.
“It is a highly personalised question. If you want to know the age of the RG, you might as well go to the whole Government. The RG is highly competent to the extent that the African Union has come to get information on our system, even the United Nations has come to my office,” said Mr Mudede who showed signs of agitation.
Mr Mudede said he had been elected to chair an association of registrar generals in Africa.
“That speaks volume of the RG. If you want to know the competence of the RG, just visit my office. It is not about age. It is my right and I do not need to answer that question. The fact that I am an RG and not an MP does not mean that I should be put in an awkward position,” he said.
Mr Mutseyami said an array of challenges that were found in his office could be as a result of his old age which might warrant his retirement.
On issuance of identity documents, Mr Mudede said they had registered 5,4 million women above 18 years and 5,2 million males giving a total of 10,6 million who were registered and above 18 years old.
He said at least 1,7 million had died since the last election in 2013.
Legislators bemoaned the stringent conditions required for one to acquire national documents like birth certificates.
They said in some remote areas, a whole generation did not have birth certificates owing to stringent conditions particularly related to distance and in circumstances where one parent or both were not available.
Legislators implored Mr Mudede’s office to consider relaxing some of the “stringent” requirements.
In response, Mr Mudede said there was need to interview people who seek birth certificates when they were already adults lest they risked registering foreigners.
He said once a person is registered he or she assumed all rights including the right to become President of a country hence the need to be thorough.