The Ongoing Law Reform Process Leads to Better Public Services in Pemba Island

Speeches Shim

Wednesday, August 10, 2022
A team of six (6) experts from the Law Reforms Commission of Zanzibar, reviewing various laws and practices to produce a simplified version of the 2018 ZCSRA Act No. 3.

One of the most recently contested developments in Zanzibar is the enactment of the 2018 Zanzibar Civil Status Registration Agency (ZCSRA) Act No. 3. The law required citizens to have a Zanzibar identity card (ID) to access most of the social services, including employment in public offices.

Most citizens contested the law because they did not have birth certificates and it was one of the requirements to receive this ID. For the community in Pemba, it proved to be an even more difficult logistical process because all certificates including birth certificates could only be issued in Unguja. Hence, for citizens of Pemba to process their ID cards they had to travel to Unguja which presented a momentous challenge for them due to the distance to Unguja and money to pay for flight or boat tickets.

Recently, USAID’s Data Driven Advocacy (DDA) project, funded the Center for Youth Dialogue (CYD) to work in partnership with the Zanzibar Law Reforms Commission and lead the review process of the Civil Status Registration Agency Act and other relevant legislation. CYD worked closely with the commission as well as with the Office of the Zanzibar Civil Status Registration Agency which oversees the processing of the ID cards.

Findings from the law review consultations, among others, uncovered the challenges the community of Pemba was facing in accessing the necessary certifications. While the law review process continues, the government decided to start issuing Zanzibar ID card-related certifications from the Zanzibar Civil Status Registration Agency office in Pemba as of May 02, 2022. This will enable the citizens of Pemba to process all their certificates (i.e., birth, marriage, death, and divorce) without having to make the laborious journey to Unguja.

As mentioned above, the law review process is ongoing. Currently, the Law Reforms Commission documented that identified gaps in the law and is pushing internally for the consideration and passage of the proposed amendments.

DDA will continue to support the Zanzibar government in this process to ensure the law is best serving the interests of the people of Zanzibar.

Last updated: October 05, 2022

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