A Committee to Deal with Corruption at Passport Office or National Change in Values?

Staff Reporter

After a hoax of passport issuance has been circulating on social media stating that the Registrar General’s office was issuing out emergency passports, people flocked to the Registrar General’s office so that they would have this precious travelling document.

This turned out to be lies and the Government has directed the Registrar-General’s Office to set up a committee that will oversee the vetting of passport and that committee’s primary responsibility will be to determine the applicants who should get passports, starting from those who want to travel on an emergency basis. This was revealed by the Secretary for Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Mr Melusi Matshiya.

There are some unconfirmed reports that some applicants were being charged up to $200 by some deceitful officials to be issued with passports immediately and this has triggered the setting up of the committee to oversee such activities and end them.

What remains to be seen is whether committees ever work in curbing corruption in Zimbabwe, after all most of the corruption in our country exists where there are board members who constitute a good number in the boards.
In a statement, Mr Matshiya said; “I have instructed the Registrar General to set up a committee to vet applications. We want to eliminate corruption because where there is a scarcity, corruption can creep in. But when we have a committee, we can help each other and make an informed decision.”

Of late, the Registrar General’s office is producing at least 800 passports per day, but plans are to produce to about 4 200 passports per day following the acquisition of consumables. More consumables are set to be delivered in the next few weeks.

Mr Matshiya said as far as the Government is concerned, “it is the right of people to apply for passports and get them, but we can look at a situation to say, you want to see a doctor or go to school, therefore you deserve to be assisted hastily.”

He said he has been out of the country “in search of a solution, a solution which is meant to look at constraints, which are the consumables and secure those consumables”.

Mr Matshiya, together with Registrar-General Mr Clemence Masango, has been to Dubai and Japan to find lasting solutions to the passports backlog in Zimbabwe.

He said, “We are trying to secure consumables; some have come as the Minister (Cain Mathema) has said. Consumables are specially designed for the Government of Zimbabwe. So it’s not a consumable like an ordinary ribbon, if it is ink, all that which goes in terms of printing; that is the personalisation aspect.

Booklets, we had 82 000 that were there, but then the constraint was consumables. We had received consumables enough to print or personalise 50 000 passports and we went on to come up with a programme whereby we order some more, but when you order, there is a turnaround period of about 16 weeks.”

Mr Matshiya said Zimbabwe manufactures its own booklets, but the printing required imported consumables.

“We manufacture our own booklets, but the printing, where we personalise, is the area that is constrained. We have ordered the consumables and by the end of the month, we would have made an announcement to further improve the situation,” he said.

Nyari Mashayamombe

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