E-passports to be issued in provinces by June

By John Nhandara & Innocent Nxumalo

EFFICIENCY has improved at the Registrar General’s office with more than 50 000 e-passports having been issued within a period of three months.

The ZBC News crew visited the Harare Passport Office and witnessed a number of people collecting their passports and the Registrar-General, Mr Henry Machiri explained the latest development.

“We have issued 50 080 passports as of Friday last week at our two sites, that is Harare and Bulawayo,” said Mr Machiri.

A lady who had applied for her e-passport and had come to collect it expressed her joy saying, “I did my application under one roof and the process is smooth unlike before. I applied and after seven days my passport was ready for collection and I have just collected it.”

People from Bulawayo have also commended efficiency at the Registrar General’s Offices after the launch of the e-passport system, with chaotic long queues which promoted corruption now a thing of the past.
Those who have accessed the much needed travelling document say the passport acquiring process has become seamless.
“We say kudos to this new system, I just applied successfully for my passport using the new system. It’s hustle-free,” said one Bulawayo resident.
“Everything is done under one roof, I have applied for my passport and I came to collect today,” said another.
For some successful e-passport applicants, the convenience ushered in by the new system has eliminated unnecessary third parties and chances of corruption.
“The online platform is easy to use, it takes you from one stage to the other. It’s you and the machine, before this system, we struggled and we will be forced by circumstances to produce bribes. But now it’s a seamless process,” another said.
In line with government policy of leaving no one and no place behind, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage is targeting to extend the biometric passport system to all the ten provinces of the country before moving to district level.

“We are now decentralising and this is work in progress. By June 30, we will be issuing passports in other provinces. We will be also cascading to districts such as Murehwa, Zvimba and Beitbridge,” he said.

The e-passport was launched in January this year after government entered into a partnership with a Lithuanian company, Garsu Pasaulis for the production of passports that meet modern international standards.