ID refusal leaves young man in anguish

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Katima Mulilo

Ngoshi Makumbi, 23, has been battling for a long time to get an identification document (ID) from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration in Katima Mulilo in the Zambezi Region, despite being in possession of a full Namibian birth certificate.

Makumbi’s mother is a Namibian citizen from Malindi in the eastern floodplains of the Zambezi Region, but the absence of his father’s records have apparently prevented home affairs officials from issuing him with an identification document. Several attempts by him and his mother to explain his situation have proven futile. His father, who was known as Joseph Makumbi, died in 1993 and it is not known where he hailed from, or whether he had any relatives in Namibia.

“They say they cannot give my son an ID, because his father’s name does not appear on his birth certificate. They could not find the records of his father in their system, or when he was born or died. They told me there’s nothing they can do,” complained a clearly enraged Agnes Siluta, the mother of Ngoshi.

Siluta says her husband died in 1993 and she has no idea of the whereabouts of her late husband’s family, who could help get Makumbi an ID. She has tried to get a declaration from the police to support her assertion, as well as a letter from the traditional authority, but all her efforts have been ignored.

“They’re saying my son should remain stateless. I have gone to Home Affairs several times, with a police declaration and a letter from the Khuta, but they have refused,” Siluta further complained. Her son’s predicament similarly affects many women in the region.

Makumbi, who left school with a junior secondary certificate, has a voter’s card, but said it is hard for him to get by without an identification document and the situation has adversely affected him.

“They always want to see if I have an ID when I ask for a job. Whenever police operations are conducted I’m often picked up by the police until a relative comes to my rescue. Why should I live like this?,” asked Makumbi.

Approached for comment a source at the Ministry of Home Affairs, who did not want to be named as they are not allowed to talk to the press, noted that it was a mistake for Makumbi to have adopted his late father’s surname, who had no Namibian identification documents. The official further explained that Ngoshi’s father’s name cannot be added to his birth certificate, as the father is deceased. The source suggested that the only way Makumbi can get an ID document is by assuming his mother’s surname.

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