Iivula-Ithana cautions runaway fathers

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Albertina Nakale

Windhoek-The Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana does not have kind words for men who run away after they impregnate women, only to resurface when the children are educated and well off.

The minister, who launched the E-Birth Notification System yesterday in Windhoek, said there are fathers – especially young men – who refuse to take responsibility for their children when they are growing up.

She maintained such children, particularly in the informal settlements, grow up knowing only their mother while the father is still alive.

“Creating and bringing someone to life must work on our conscience. Children need education, and I know our fathers are only interested in us when we graduate or get married. They say ‘no … the wedding must pass at my house’. No, please let’s change our mindset. You have a responsibility over your child from the word go.”

The minister further condemned unscrupulous fathers who allegedly buy out corrupt medical doctors in a bid to tamper with paternity results.

“We are busy running away. We are buying paternity from the crooked scientists. Yes, we go there to declare ‘write that it’s not me’,” she said.

According to her, the child must know both the father and mother right from the beginning, saying it’s the right of a child and the responsibility of a parent to register the child for a birth certificate.

One of the mandates of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration is to manage the National Population Register, which includes the issuance of national documents such as birth certificates, identity cards, marriage certificates and death certificates.

She said their activities aim at ensuring lawful identity management of nationals, the facilitation of the establishment of family basic units and that the government has the necessary demographic data needed for planning purposes.

In fact, birth registration is a mandatory requirement in terms of Article 15 (1) of the Namibian Constitution, which reads: “Children shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and, subject to legislation enacted in the best interest of children, as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by the parents.”

She added that birth registration is the fundamental right of every child.
Therefore, she reminded fathers to prepare the names of the child well before birth, and declare paternity under oath in order for the mother to register the child immediately after birth at the hospital, in the event that the father would not be present during birth. She said an unregistered child does not exist legally and cannot exercise its rights and access to important educational and social services.

“Register your child immediately after birth – it is the right of the child and your responsibility as a parent to register him or her,” she urged.

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