Lesotho Times
Communications Minister Joang Molapo

Excitement turns into nightmare for ID seekers

Joang Molapo (1)By Ntsebeng Motsoeli

MASERU — It is barely six months since gov­ernment introduced the National Identity Civil Registry (NICR) project.
However people are already complaining of the “impossible” requirements that they are asked to bring to register their births and ulti­mately apply for an identity document.

Applicants said they have been tossed back and forth to bring documents that are not eas­ily accessible.
If they are not sent back for a baptismal cer­tificate they are asked to bring parents’ iden­tity documents or marriage certificates, many have complained.
They said the requirements are so hard to meet it would seem government is deliberately making services hard to get.
Applicants who spoke to this paper earlier this week said it is getting tougher by day to get their birth registered.
They said their excitement of registering their births and later acquiring identity docu­ments is turning into a nightmare.

Seipate Makoma of Nazareth said she has visited the post office more than five times but has never advanced any step closer to getting his birth registered.
“I have been sent back to get one document or the other. I have been here for five times. This is the sixth day and I don’t think it’s going to be any different,” Makoma told this paper on Monday.
Makoma said she was first sent back to find a letter from her village chief. When she brought it she was again asked to bring her clinical booklet or her baptismal certificate to authen­ticate the chief’s letter.
“I don’t remember ever seeing my clinical booklet,” she said.
A defector from her late parents’ church where she was baptised as a child, Makoma said she had to do a “desperate thing” which was going to her church to find the copy of the baptismal certificate.

That was not over yet. She was asked to go back to the chief to for another because another “crucial information” was missing on the first letter.
Then she had to find her parents’ identity documents and their death certificates.
“I was so confused by their demands. I did not have any of the documents they were look­ing for. I had to pay money to get some of them. Today I am returning with all I have managed to find. I hope they accept them. This is my last try. If I fail I give up,” she said.
Another applicant, Teboho Shebi, said she has been asked to bring her chief’s letter twice because it had been lost from her file.
“I went to the post office to get my birth cer­tificate so that I could apply for my ID. But I was told that the chief’s letter was missing from my file. I had to ask for the letter again,” she said.

Most applicants who spoke to this paper on Monday and Tuesday said services were too slow at the post office.
There has been a sizeable crowd of people swarming the Maseru post office in the past two weeks.
So numerous were the applicants that the crowd spilled over Kingsway onto pavements on buildings opposite to the post office.
The Home Affairs Minister, Joang Molapo, could not be reached to respond to the new de­velopments of the (NICR) project.
But in his last press conference Molapo said he heard complaints that the requirements for registering births were hard.
He said it was not government’s intention to make it difficult for people.
He added that the requirements were so that the authenticity of the information people were providing could be proved beyond doubt.
“Many people still do not understand the re­quirements for national registry. People think we are being difficult. We are not being diffi­cult. We just want to do things the right way,” Molapo had said.

Home Affairs public relations officer, Hape Marumo, said the increased number of people at the post office earlier this week could be a result of shortage of staff.
Marumo said services could have been slow­er this week because the project had to release some staff members to undergo training for electronic passports to be carried out soon.

Lesotho Times

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