Govt decentralises e-passports acquisition

By Yolanda Moyo
AN e-passport centre has been officially commissioned in Bulawayo as government delivers on its promise to decentralise the process which started in Harare.
The Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage is decentralising the issuance of e-passports to ensure that every citizen has easy access to the vital travel document.
Officially commissioning an e-passport centre at the Registrar’s offices in Bulawayo this Wednesday, the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Honourable Kazembe Kazembe said the process will be taken to all the country’s provinces by June this year.

“Plans are however afoot to decentralise e-passport enrolment services to all districts in our drive to take services to the people in line with the dictates of devolution. The decentralisation of e-passport services to district level remains a priority for ministry. Next we are going to Hwange and Lupane and all provinces will have e -passport centers by end of June this year,” said the Home Affairs minister.
Minister Kazembe also urged the public to desist from engaging intermediaries as the ministry does not have agents in the Civil Registry Department.
The opening of an e-passport office in Bulawayo has been described as a step in the right direction in curbing border jumping in the region.

“Bulawayo is centrally located and easily accessible, hence people from Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North provinces will also benefit from these services. As a region we are delighted that this initiative will result in the end of long winding queues and waiting periods,” said Honourable Judith Ncube, the Bulawayo Minister of state for provincial affairs and Devolution.

“We welcome this move as people in this region have been traveling to Harare to secure a passport a thing that was costly to most of them and sometimes because of queues they would never manage to get in. Having a Bulawayo office is a milestone in fighting border jumping in the region,” said Winos Dube, Bulawayo Residents Association Chairperson.
The rolling out of the e-passport dovetails with the National Development Strategy One (NDS1) objective of modernising the economy through the use of ICTs and digital technology.