Story by Tafara Chikumira
THE introduction of the biometric e-passport in the Midlands Province has decongested the civil registry offices in Gweru, with the citizenry impressed by the smooth passport application process.
The front of the gates which lead to the Midlands provincial offices used to be impassable as it used to witness a flood of people jostling for a chance to be served in the passport processing activity.
Pavements used to be beds for some people who would have travelled from faraway places angling to get attention as soon as the government complex gates opened for business.
For Joshua Marusenga, a resident of Gweru who is renewing his passport after having gone through the same process 10 years ago, the new system is all he has ever dreamt of for his beloved country.
“Well I came in well after 8.am. However, I have been away from home for 10 years and had not noticed the changes at these offices. I am shocked to say the least, on the reception I got from the whole process. The people who were attending to me were very friendly and the whole process is now fast. I am now proud that my home town is having such services,” he said.
The decongestion of the civil registry office and efficiency of the passport application process has been attributed to a raft of measures instituted by the Second Republic.
“We used to service people from various parts of the southern region. The establishment of district offices in Zvishavane and Chipinge means our area of service has greatly been reduced. The acquiring of the biometric machines also means we are now working with speed. Issues of power cuts and network problems have also received attention, explained Midlands Provincial Registrar, Ms Agnes Gambura.
Midlands Minister of State For Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Honourable Owen Ncube said, “I am happy to witness the progress at these offices. The speed through which the government workers are attending to people is impressive. What I can safely say is that we are on course to making a paperless passport application process. This will ensure that we achieve visions 2030.”
“The decongestion of this e-passport processing system which used to be a pipe dream only some two years ago is now a lived reality, thanks to the Second Republic’s inclusive development agenda.