By Clemence Tashaya and Lubinda Samunzala
IN another terrible case of marginalization, the Caprivi region has been left out of the current consultations being conducted by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration. The consultation meetings are taking place with recognized Traditional Authorities in the north and north –eastern regions of Namibia.
The Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration has observed with concern that some of the deaths especially those that are occurring in the far remote areas are not being registered with the Ministry due to the fact that those areas and villages are very far from the regional and sub regional offices of the ministry.
This inspired the ministry seeking approval from the cabinet to decentralize the registration of deaths to the hospitals and clinics and the recognized traditional authorities in the country which was granted as per Cabinet decision.
The Caprivi region has been left out of this crucial national process that is only targeting some villages in Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, Ohangwena, Kavango and Caprivi. The strip was agonizingly left out of the process with a high number of unregistered birth and death certificate’s in the region.
In a statement released by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration, the office of the Permanent Secretary clearly stated that the reasons for the decentralization of deaths to the hospitals/clinics and traditional authority’s were to bring the services closer to the people within the framework of the National policy. Decentralization for the Ministry to have accurate deaths statistics as provided for the births, marriages and deaths Act was also noted as of paramount importance.
“Due to the long distances from the centre where there are facilities, some deceased are buried without death certificates and later orphans and family members that are left behind find it extremely difficult to register themselves for services such as schools, orphanage grants or for other national documents without their parent’s particulars,” the statement confirmed.
The Ministry felt it imperative to start consulting the Governors of the regions and recognized traditional authorities, heads of the Namibian Police (NAMPOL) and the Health Institutions on the modalities towards implementing the cabinet decision.
The Consultation process started with the northern and north – eastern regions of Namibia.
Meanwhile, children of war veterans who were born in Angola and returned to Namibia and registered that they were born here are also being marginalized from the benefits. Their parents passed away in the Caprivi region and they are appealing to the government to register them so that they can benefit like any other youths who were born in exile. They allege that the government is neglecting them since their parents are now late and no consultations and registrations have been conducted in the region.
“Both of my parents passed away in 1987 and up to now some of us who were born in exile in Angola have not yet been benefiting from anything since our parents passed away. All my parents are late and my birth certificate indicates that I was born in Katima Mulilo yet I was born in Angola at Santa Clara just near the border of Angola and Namibia. But when I went to the offices I was told that I should change the birth place on my identity document. This is giving me problems because it is me who has to benefit since I’m the first born in the family and my responsibility is more like a breadwinner but without any pensions yet my parents were in the liberation struggle,” lamented Almo Mwenda Mazazi.
Almo Mwenda Mazazi was born in 1979 in the border town of Santa Clara, Angola near the border that divides Namibia and Angola. His father Jackson Lukonga Mazazi and mother Rosemary Kupenga Lifalaza are both late. They were fighting for the SWAPO led government and are also known by the government as members of the liberation struggle.
However, it is these excruciating concerns that some of these children are appealing to the Ministry of Home Affairs to come and conduct consultations in order for them to be registered and have their documents changed so that they can benefit from the government programs sine their parents significantly contributed to the liberation struggle.