EMANYA - Joy was visible on the faces of the residents of Emanya in the remote area of Nehale Lya Mpingana in the Oshikoto region, who this week received identity documents through an outreach programme to serve rural communities.
Members of the community said they had no idea of when they could be able to obtain identity documents that would make them feel legitimately Namibians. They cited challenges such as long distance to nearest home affairs offices as well as lack of money for transport.
“We are really grateful for the government that has brought services closer to us. It really remained a distant dream for many of us. We are again appealing to the government to return and assist those who could not be helped,” said Hendrina Wapota, whose two children received birth certificates.
The community benefited from the initiative organised by the office of the Oshikoto governor, which roped in the services of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security as well as that of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare.
“Without these identity documents, children were stateless because there is no proof even though we as parents have such documents. The nearest offices have been at Tsumeb and Omuthiya which are all situated more than 130 kilometres away, the fact that we find ourselves in the bush made it even worse,” said another beneficiary, Lineekelamwene Thomas, whose toddler received a birth certificate too.
The registration programme issues identity documents to children under the age of five, home delivered babies as well as those who lost their documents plus the elderly who are eligible to benefit from pension grants.
According to Esther Domingo, who represented governor Penda Ya Ndakolo, there was a good turn out, a clear indication that people were in a severe predicament.
“The governor noticed with great concern that there was a growing number of children and the elderly who were living without any national documents, a situation that was depriving them of benefitting from government’s social grants. That is why we requested the relevant ministries to go out there and serve the people,” she explained, adding that the team was scheduled to register residents of Andoni village yesterday.
Other targeted areas are those in Eengodi and Onankolo constituencies, she said.
“Since we got here, we did not register anyone for social grants because none of them had qualifying documents to necessitate the registration process. These people were affected, therefore, now that they have registered and soon will receive their documents, it will make the process easy so they too can not be left behind,” said Domingo.
Meanwhile, home affairs officials briefed this publication that the most daunting challenge to issuing documents was that the majority are Angolan nationals.
“These people have children with Namibians, so sometimes it becomes difficult to assist as none of them might be having identity documents, which makes it hard to prove they were born in Namibia. But when one partner is a holder, we assist,” said the official. - email@example.com