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Monitor Issue 109
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
September 05, 2011
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lawyers have asked the High Court to jail Registrar-General (RG)
Tobaiwa Mudede on contempt of court charges after he defied a court
order to renew a citizen's passport. In an application filed
recently, the lawyers want Mudede jailed for 90 days for defying
Justice Susan Mavangira's order for the RG's office
to renew Sebastian Piroro's passport.
Mudede has failed
to renew Piroro's passport despite being given a two-week
ultimatum to do so in March this year by Justice Mavangira. "That
the Second Respondent be and is hereby sentenced to imprisonment
in respect of the contempt of this Honourable Court as aforesaid
for a period of ninety (90) days, or until such time as he fully
complies with the Order of this Honourable Court in Case No. H.C.7248/2010
dated 31 March 2011, whichever is the earlier," reads an order
sought by the lawyers.
of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights is representing Piroro, a Zimbabwean
based in Canada and deemed by Mudede to be an alien despite being
In an affidavit
lodged with the High Court, Piroro argued that Mudede deserved jail
because he had "wilfully and persistently failed to obey and
comply with the Order of this Honourable Court."
wilful and persistent failure by the First Respondent has caused
me severe prejudice in that I am still not recognised as a citizen
of Zimbabwe and I am still without a Zimbabwe Passport, despite
the fact that I live and work at the present time in Canada. "Accordingly,
it is respectfully submitted that the Second Respondent is in contempt
of this Honourable Court," reads Piroro's affidavit.
Piroro was born and educated in Zimbabwe and had sought to renew
his passport at the Zimbabwean embassy in Ottawa. The travelling
document was issued in 2000 and expired last year. But in response
Mudede refused, alleging that Piroro was a dual citizen on account
of his father having been born in Mozambique. Mudede said Piroro
should first renounce his purported Mozambican citizenship-which
he does not hold-before he could obtain a new Zimbabwe passport.
office turned down Piroro's application to renew the passport.
He indicated that his office could only do so after Piroro renounced
his purported foreign citizenship.
In his argument
which was thrown out by Justice Mavangira, Mudede argued that Piroro
was a "Mozambican citizen by descent" who should have
renounced his purported citizenship between 6 July 2001 and 6 January
2002 under the provisions of section 9 (7) of the Citizenship of
that although Piroro was born in Zimbabwe and spent most of his
life in the country, he had lost his Zimbabwean citizenship and
was now regarded as an "alien".
father, Saidon, was born in Mozambique. He migrated to Zimbabwe
around 1955 and never returned to Mozambique. He became a citizen
of Zimbabwe by registration and had a Zimbabwean identity number.
mother, born in Marondera, was a citizen of Zimbabwe by birth.
ruled that Piroro was a citizen of Zimbabwe by birth in terms of
Section 5 of the Constitution
of Zimbabwe. The High Court Judge declared that "the provisions
of Section 9 (7) of the Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act (Chapter 4:01)
in so far as it relates to citizenship by birth are ultra vires
the powers vested in the Parliament of Zimbabwe in terms of Section
9 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and are in consequence of no force
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