Over 200 000 Zimbabweans who applied for passports are still to get them months after applying.
Home Affairs & Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe, on Thursday morning said the civil registry office has a production backlog of 225 747 passports due to a shortage of consumables.
He told the parliamentary portfolio committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services that his ministry plans to increase production capacity to between 2 000 and 2 500 passports per day.
“To address this situation the ministry has put in place the following measures: Introduction of a double shift working programme with effect from the 26th of April 2021. As we speak right now we have two shifts. The night shift is from 8pm to 4am whilst the day shift operates from 8am to 4pm”, Minister Kazembe said.
Zimbabwe’s passport backlog has bred corruption at the passport offices, as applicants jostle to skip long queues. Earlier today (Thursday), Minister Kazembe visited the civil registry’s passport office in Harare undercover. After joining the long queue, a man offered to help him skip the queue for USD$30 dollars.
“Today I woke up very early in the morning and I dressed up in a way that nobody recognized me. I wanted to have a firsthand experience of what transpires before the officials come to work. When I got there somebody came to me offering me a place. They were so many they actually battled for my money. I settled for one who showed me where my place was. I paid him the $50. He gave me the change and that’s when his life changed.”
The man was arrested by a police detail who was nearby.