Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
A BULAWAYO woman born to Zambian parents has taken the Registrar-General Mr Tobaiwa Mudede to court challenging his refusal to grant her Zimbabwean citizenship.
Mrs Ketty Twasa (75), through her lawyers Moyo and Nyoni Legal Practitioners, filed an application at the Bulawayo High Court seeking an order interdicting Mr Mudede from demanding that she must renounce her dual citizenship as a prerequisite to be issued with a new birth certificate and national identity card which would subsequently allow her to apply for a Zimbabwean passport.
The documents classify Mrs Twasa as a foreigner.
In papers before the court, the Minister of Home Affairs and Culture, Dr Obert Mpofu and his Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs counterpart Cde Ziyambi Ziyambi were cited as respondents.
In her founding affidavit, Mrs Twasa wants a declaratur that she is a Zimbabwean citizen by birth. She seeks an order directing Mr Mudede to issue her with a new Zimbabwean birth certificate and identity card that does not depict her as an alien.
Mrs Twasa, whose maiden surname is Sithole, said she used her husband’s surname to obtain her identity documents.
“I was born to Zambian parents who are both late. I do not have a birth certificate or any birth record because my parents kept my records and later sent them to Lobengula Primary School where I did my primary education in the 1950s,” she said.
Mrs Twasa said she remained in Bulawayo when her parents, who used to reside in Mzilikazi suburb, relocated back to Zambia between 1958 and 1959.
She said she is struggling to obtain a Zimbabwean passport. Mrs Twasa said she is failing to raise $5 000 which is required to renounce her dual citizenship, since she is not employed.
“I am unable to obtain a birth certificate as the first respondent (Mr Mudede) says I am a foreigner. He further insists that I should renounce my Zambian citizenship which costs nothing less than $5 000, which I have never seen in all my 75 years of living,” she said.
Mrs Twasa said it was unlawful and against the provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe to be denied a birth certificate and national identity card.
“I am wrongfully denied the rights and privileges of a citizen of Zimbabwe as enshrined in the supreme law of Zimbabwe. My rights and freedom of movement is curtailed since I cannot get a passport all because I am treated as a foreigner who should not enjoy the same rights and privileges accorded to the rest of the Zimbabweans,” she said.
In November last year, Mr Mudede told a Parliamentary Thematic Committee on Peace and Security that people referred to as aliens were not citizens, saying being issued with a birth certificate did not guarantee one citizenship.
During the same month, the Harare High Court judge Justice Nyaradzo Munangati-Manongwa ruled that the Registrar-General’s Office should allow aliens to register to vote during the biometric voter registration (BVR) exercise provided they produce their identification documents and proof of residence.
The ruling followed an urgent chamber application by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, which had petitioned the High Court on behalf of a Harare resident, Ms Sarah Kachingwe alongside the MDC-T and MDC, seeking an order compelling the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to register aliens as prospective voters for the 2018 harmonised elections.