court.jpgThe Supreme Court of Zimbabwe has passed a landmark ruling which has empowered women to obtain passports for their minor children in a judgement which has repealed the old system where both parents or a father only could acquire a passport for a child.  

Handing over the judgment, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku said each parent of a minor child can assist the child to obtain a passport.

 

The landmark ruling which has empowered women after many years of gender based discrimination comes following an application by former legislator Margaret Dongo to the High Court in 2006.

 

In her application, Dongo had argued that the bill of rights in the constitution had been violated after the Registrar General denied her the opportunity to obtain a passport for her child in the absence of the child’s father.

 

Dongo through her lawyer, Ms Sarudzai Njerere argued that the passport acquisition process discriminates by recognising men as the natural guardian of children to the exclusion of women despite the fact that the law recognises all unmarried and widowed women as natural guardians of their minor children.

 

The Registrar General was arguing that the natural guardianship of children born to a married couple is vested in the father, hence his request that the father signs a section on the application form issued by his office signifying his consent to the minor child obtaining a passport.

 

The lengthy judgment also highlighted that there has been an oversight on the issue as there is no written law that specifically governs the application for and issuance of passports.