The Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security is advising mothers who have not registered the birth of their children to do so, even in the absence of the fathers.

According to Sakeus Kadhikwa, the ministry's Public Relations Officer, mothers who fail to register their babies in their surnames risk their children becoming stateless.

In some cultures in Namibia, babies are registered under their father's surname. But for this to happen, the father needs to give consent, but sometimes he is nowhere to be found.

"If the father is not around, or you don't know where the father is, the ministry has made provision that you can register your child under your surname without the consent of the absent father. You can do that. So the full birth certificate will have blank information for the father and only have the mother's information. Obviously, the kid will have the mother's surname. That is allowed by law."

The ministry says that once the father does appear, the child can be re-registered under his surname, but for now, mothers should take the initiative to ensure that their children are registered as young as possible.

Kadhikwa says an unregistered child might miss out on certain benefits in the future.

"There is an outcry out there. Children that are registered at schools without national documents. It has now been made a strict measure by the ministry of education for every child that is going to take up education to have a birth certificate."

The Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security has mobile offices in most intermediate hospitals and is advising mothers to access registered services before leaving the hospital.

Kadhikwa says the ministry is also busy visiting schools nationwide to register learners who are turning 16 for identity cards.


Photo Credits
The Namibian
Frances Shaahama