The parliamentary panel has proposed that Zimbabwe embassies be empowered to issue national documents like identity cards, passports, births and deaths certificates, marriages, citizenship, and temporary travel documents.
The proposition was made by the committee on Defense and Home Affairs. Zimbabwe has 39 embassies across the globe. Currently, Zimbabweans abroad have to apply for documents through the embassies in their country of residents or go to the neighboring country if where they live has no embassy. After which the documents are sent back to Zimbabwe for processing. A process which is very time consuming. Many Zimbabweans opt to post their own documents for quick delivery. However, they need to give power of attorney to the person who is going to submit and collect the documents on their behalf.
Giving power to embassies will ease the congestion in Harare, Registrar General's office. It is believed around three million Zimbabweans live in the diaspora with around 2,2 million in South Africa. It's every citizen's right to access documentation. Zimbabwean constitution section 35(!) and (3) guarantees access to national documents for every Zimbabwean citizen. It goes on to provide the rights of children who are Zimbabwean citizen born in or outside Zimbabwe to be given a name and be provided with a birth certificate.
Many children born outside Zimbabwe have lived without documents due to the complications of having to travel back home to get a birth certificate for the child. When one is not documented, they are limited on what they can do in their lives like access to education, health care, travel and many other things. Without identity documents one is as good as 'stateless' which is regarded as violation and is regulated in the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and other international legal frameworks.
The proposal by the committee is indeed a welcome move which will ease the plight of many Zimbabweans.