By: Annakleta Haikera
The home affairs, immigration, safety and security ministry says it is working towards the elimination of statelessness in remote areas in the country.
Deputy minister Daniel Kashikola undertook regional visits to the northern regions. On Monday, 26 September, he visited Omega 1 in the Kavango East region.
The visit was aimed to engage community members to familiarise themselves with issues of statelessness and undocumented people in those regions.
He says they have struck a deal with migration that is being drafted, allowing a person that has lived in Namibia for a long time the right to national documents.
“Another document that also needs to be issued is if that person is a resident and marginalised, we will also comply with the law to issue them the needed documents.”
Kashikola said the ministry will visit remote areas to issue national documents to children from age one to nine years as there are places where information is not easily accessible, and services are not delivered.
He also said he will visit the Bravo and Mankumpi villages in the Kavango West region.
“Our concern as a ministry is that these people are marginalised, and all the areas that I am to visit are very far from towns. These people are mostly disadvantaged from being registered for national documents.”
“We want to improve Namibia by providing everyone living in Namibia with citizenship. We want to identify all the people without documents to see how many they are, where they are, and they should all come and register themselves or their children.”
Regina Munima, a resident at Omega 1, who received a full birth certificate for her 2-year-old grandson, told The Villager that she’s excited and overwhelmed over the ministry coming to their village to allow them to register for national documents, especially for young ones.
“I am very happy that many of us are forced to travel long distances to search for national documents now that service is brought to the people here at Omega. It will change a lot of people’s livelihood.”
According to Munyima, obtaining her grandson’s birth certificate took her two good years, and it is indeed challenging to get documents.
“Thus, you must provide all the necessary Namibian documents for the father and mother. I am glad that obtaining a document will allow me to register my grandson into preprimary because the mother of this child is still in school,” she said.
Statelessness is a significant concern in many African countries –with birth registration across the continent at only about 50 per cent and naturalisation procedures in many African countries being highly inaccessible.