Gonda to get pass­port

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Daniel Ne­mukuyu Se­nior Re­porter

REGIS­TRAR-GEN­ERAL Mr Tobaiwa Ton­neth Mud­ede has agreed to is­sue a pass­port to United Kingdom-based Zim­bab­wean jour­nal­ist Vi­o­let Gonda, who last week un­suc­cess­fully ap­plied for the travel doc­u­ment be­cause she was “black­listed”.

Gonda, who re­turned home early this year af­ter spend­ing 17 years in the UK, is among sev­eral Zim­bab­weans black­listed by Gov­ern­ment.

She re­cently ap­plied for a pass­port, but Mr Mud­ede de­nied her the doc­u­ment on the ba­sis that she is black­listed although she had paid the pass­port fees.

Ac­cord­ing to Gonda’s court pa­pers, Mr Mud­ede told her that she is on the “Stop List”, there­fore, she could not be is­sued with a pass­port.

She has been in the coun­try cov­er­ing the run-up to the July 30 polls and post-elec­tion pe­riod.

Mr Mud­ede on Mon­day filed a no­tice of op­po­si­tion at the High Court in which he climbed down on his of­fice’s ear­lier po­si­tion and con­sented to is­sue Gonda the doc­u­ment.

Mr Mud­ede ac­cused Gonda of rush­ing to court with­out ex­haust­ing all the avail­able reme­dies.

“The ap­pli­ca­tion is not nec­es­sary as ap­pli­cant has not been de­nied a pass­port by my of­fice. Af­ter she en­coun­tered some ad­min­is­tra­tive prob­lems with the of­fi­cer who at­tended to her, ap­pli­cant should have es­ca­lated her is­sue to a se­nior per­son in my of­fice.

“If this had been done, the is­sue would have been re­solved with­out the need to ap­proach this court . . . My po­si­tion is that ap­pli­cant is a ci­ti­zen of Zim­babwe and is en­ti­tled to the doc­u­ment that she ap­plied for. The so-called stop list does not ap­ply to her,” said Mr Mud­ede.

Gonda filed her ap­pli­ca­tion at the High Court on Au­gust 28, in which she cited Mr Mud­ede and the Min­istry of Home Af­fairs and Cul­tural Her­itage as re­spon­dents.

She wanted the court to com­pel Mr Mud­ede to is­sue her with a Zim­bab­wean pass­port.

Gonda also wanted the court to de­clare that Mr Mud­ede’s con­duct vi­o­lated her rights, cit­ing var­i­ous sec­tions of the Con­sti­tu­tion to prove her case.

In her ap­pli­ca­tion, Gonda claims she was barred from re­turn­ing home by the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion be­cause she works for SW Ra­dio.

The ra­dio sta­tion was viewed as hos­tile to for­mer pres­i­dent Mr Robert Mu­gabe’s gov­ern­ment. Gonda ar­gued that by virtue of be­ing a Zim­bab­wean born to Zim­bab­wean par­ents she met the cri­te­ria re­quired to be is­sued with a pass­port,.

In this re­gard, she ar­gued that her cit­i­zen­ship can­not be re­voked in terms of the law, say­ing her sta­tus is be­yond ques­tion.

Gonda said the fact that she was placed on the stop list since 2002 meant that she has al­ready suf­fered in­jury given that she has been ex­iled from her own coun­try for fear of the worst.

She ac­cused Mr Mud­ede of try­ing to re­verse the gains of Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa’s new dis­pen­sa­tion that opened up democ­racy and al­lowed peo­ple to ex­er­cise their rights and free­doms.

Vi­o­let Gonda

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