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Inmates get birth certificates

Boitumelo Koloi

Every Mosotho is entitled to the full enjoyment of services offered by government regardless of his or her whereabouts and circumstances, deputy Home Affairs minister ‘Malebitso Ralebitso has said.

Addressing over 100 prisoners at the Berea Correctional Service Institute who were being presented with birth certificates on Friday last week, Ralebitso said life should still go on even if one is behind bars.

The deputy minister also encouraged the inmates not to lose heart because of their current predicament.
“You might be surprised to know that some of us may even be committing worse crimes than what you did, so the best thing is to own up to your mistakes, dust yourselves up and prepare for a better life after prison,” Ralebitso said.

A total 112 inmates and 70 warders were presented with birth certificates at a sombre event officiated by Home Affairs minister Joang Molapo as part of government’s birth registration decentralisation strategy.

Under the plan introduced last year, the ministry is set to bring services closer to the people, thereby sparing communities lengthy queues which have characterised regular birth and national identity document (ID) registration centres in urban areas.

When the new birth certificate and ID were launched last year, Basotho complained about the lengthy process of their acquisition due to the number of supporting documents required, as well as lengthy queues at registration centres.

And in an attempt to remedy the situation, Molapo has since launched an aggressive registration initiative, through which the otherwise hard-to-reach parts of the country are visited and every villager registered.

Meanwhile, the Berea District Manager of the National Identity and Civil Registry (NICR) Lerato Mosisili, said the birth certificates were given to the inmates as a follow-up to a registration exercise conducted at the prison in February this year.
Mosisili said the prisoners had been visited because as Lesotho citizens, they also had a right to national documents such as IDs even though they were in custody.

Prisoners, she added, form part of the vulnerable community and are often denied access to services they are legally entitled to.
“Now that we have registered them, I can safely say about 80 percent of the unreachable and vulnerable community in Berea, including people in the rural villages of the district, has been catered for,” Mosisili said.
“We hope to register the remaining part of the community in the new fiscal year which began on the first of this month.”

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