‘We cannot vote or get jobs’: plight of 300,000 Zimbabweans without documents

Published: 13/Jul/2021
Source: The Guardian (London)

Amnesty is calling for action to help those with no papers who are denied access to education, employment and healthcare

By Nyasha Chingono

At 45, Philimon Mashava has never had a bank account or a phone in his name.

He has never had a birth certificate and, without documents, Mashava’s stateless existence has meant him missing out on school and countless job opportunities, as employers want some form of identification.

Being locked out of citizenship in the southern African country is an issue for an estimated 300,000 Zimbabweans, according to Amnesty International.

Mashava has survived by street trading. Born in Chipinge to a Mozambican father who returned home and a Zimbabwean mother who died young, his five children are on track to inherit his statelessness.

“Getting an ID has always been tough because my father’s relatives are in Mozambique and there is no way of getting in contact with them. No one knows exactly where they are,” Mashava says from his home in Hopley, six miles (10km) from the centre of the capital, Harare.

“I just grew up without a birth certificate. This is my life.” And his children’s too, as without one, Mashava’s 16-year-old son cannot sit his school exams.

Read further: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/jul/12/we-cannot-vote-or-get-jobs-plight-of-300000-zimbabweans-without-documents

Themes: Acquisition by children, ID Documents and Passports, Statelessness
Regions: Zimbabwe
Year: 2021