Chiefs Council president, Chief Fortune Charumbira, says the disenfranchisement of descendants of Gukurahundi victims who struggle to obtain legal documents should not be overly emphasised at it is a national problem.
Chief Charumbira said there are so many orphaned children countrywide who struggle to obtain legal documents such as birth certificates and national identity documents.
According to a survey conducted by a consortium of Matabeleland based civic society groups, 40 percent of children in Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South do not have birth certificates.
“From all areas where we come from, we also have orphans who are also experiencing these challenges. So, this has nothing to do with Gukurahundi. In my area, I am in trouble daily,” said Chief Charumbira, speaking in the Senate, yesterday.
Chief Charumbira was responding to Senator Soul Ncube who had asked the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Senator Michael Madiro on what is needed by the orphaned children who were affected by the Gukurahundi atrocities in order to obtain birth certificates.
Chief Charumbira said traditional leaders were assisting with issuing affidavits for those without legal documents.
“As chiefs, we write those affidavits stating that the children are members of the community. They ask the child to still bring witnesses who will be 100km away,” said Charumbira.
However, Hon Madiro berated traditional leaders from demanding bribes in exchange for affidavits.
Hon Madiro said traditional leaders should raise awareness on the required documents for one to obtain a birth certificate or national identity documents.
“In rural areas, there are village heads who know the subjects in their areas and these can go and witness for the children and they will be able to get documents,’ the deputy minister said.
“What is needed is that the MPs should ensure that their constituents and the Registrar are aware of this information to enable people to get their documents”.
The Gukurahundi atrocities claimed more than 20 000 civilian lives and affected thousands more direct descendants.