Lawyer Tendai Biti said he is approaching the courts seeking the scrapping off of the regions and district codes on national identity cards “because they are fuelling tribalism in the country”.
A National Identity card bears the names of the holder’s local village, the chief as well as the code of his district and province of origin.
But according to Biti, who was one of the panellists at the just ended two day panel discussion which was organized by SAPES Trust and Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, in Harare, this information on the IDs is the source of discrimination, citizens from provinces such as Matabeleland suffer from under the Zanu PF government.
“What I take great exception to is the use of tribes by the nationalists and after all nationalism is an ideology that recognizes the incorporation of all tribes to form a political party and if you look at Zanu PF, it is a coalition of tribes just like all other nationalist organizations.
“So I have a problem now when suddenly 37 after independence that there are some people who are desperate to re-label us in terms of where we come from,” said Biti.
President Robert Mugabe, two years ago, provoked fury after he said Kalanga people were “uneducated” and were notorious for committing “petty crime” in South Africa.
Biti said he was going to challenge the inclusion of provincial codes and village heads on national IDs in court.
“This is one of the things I am going to do as a lawyer,” he said.
“If you look at your ID card you see something like R63, It is criminal that in this day and age we have some identity documents that locate us from some village.
My own ID says that I come from chief Mushayi, I have never seen chief Mushayi and I do not have an intention of seeing him,” said Biti to the laughing delegates.
“My ID card tribalizes me when I am actually a born location; I grew up in Mbare .So we need to be wary of the maintenance of these pervasive tribalism that is taking place in our country,” Biti said.
Source: All Africa