GABORONE The Bazezuru community living in Gaborone have been urged to register their children immediately after birth, as required by the law.
Addressing the community at their praying centre recently, Gaborone District Commissioner, Mr Fraser Tlhoiwe said it is the parents responsibility to register their children with the death and births office for statistical and administration purposes.
Mr Tlhoiwe, who was the guest speaker, said given that many children go unregistered, government has formulated a registration committee, which is made up of different government departments and other stakeholders. The committee has been mandated to ensure that all births are registered and that people register for the national identity upon attaining the required age. He also emphasised the need for mothers to deliver their babies in hospitals so that they could be easily registered and avoid challenges of obtaining an affidavit from the local chief. He encouraged mothers to report to the nearest health facility in instances where they give birth at home.
Mr Tlhoiwe also reminded the Bazezuru community that the Ministry of Education and Skills Development will continue to demand birth certificates upon registration of children at schools so as to make reference and confirm their true dates of birth.
Speaking at the same occasion, civil and national registration director, Ms Neo Lepang said her office is overwhelmed with issues relating to registration of births and deaths, identity documents, marriages and change of surnames.
Ms Lepang said as a signatory of the UN conventions on the right to register every birth, the government is doing all in its powers to ensure that children are registered, given a name and have the right to know their parents and their nationality.
Furthermore, she said the 2009 Childrens Act emphasises the need for parents names to appear on their childrens birth certificates regardless of whether they are married or not. Ms Lepang told the attendants that registration of children could also play a significant role in planning and budgeting for developments as well as for acquisition of programmes such as social grants.
For her part, registration superintendent, Mrs Irene Ngwako said evidence shows that most Zezuru members do not register their children with the births and deaths office and that some children share birth certificates.
Meanwhile, the Bazezuru community thanked government for the important information hence they have since implored their members to register their children. One resident, who is also a church elder, Mr Joel Zikhale said he has registered his 35 children and is not embarrassed to have done that.
Mr Zikhale also said people should respect the law of the country, noting that resisting registration is also a violation of the church principles as well as violating childrens rights.
Another speaker, Mr Robert Maposa, who has 41 children, thanked the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs for its services, noting that government should continue to avail its services to the people as it is doing. BOPA