By Karen Nyeraurombo
Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe has called on citizens to be patient as the government works on passport production.
Zimbabwe has struggled to produce passports in the past decade, and this has resulted in a huge backlog.
The failure to produce the important travelling documents has put a strain on lives of many Zimbabweans as they are not able to travel outside the country to look for opportunities.
Giving oral evidence before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Service, Minister Kazembe said his ministry has the required machinery and will be doubling production.
“I’m appealing to our citizens to be patient as we work on the passport production, we are having double shifts in the passport production.
“We have tools, machinery that will increase our capacity from 8000 a day that we are doing now to 16 000,” he said.
The Home Affairs Minister also added that they are currently issuing out green-passes due to shortage of plastic to print the identity cards.
“Some of our offices are now issuing green passes due to shortage of material for plastic identity cards.
“The long-term solution is to ensure that these services are provided online, a few weeks ago we had what you call the Ministry of Home Affairs integrated strategy which was approved by government. That strategy means we are going to be automating Home Affairs and, in our view, once you have automated Home Affairs you have automated the country.
“We are looking at computerizing the entire police and computerizing the entire registry as well as computerizing immigration, but over and above that to integrate them and the benefits are so many.
“Once we fully integrate and automate the system, people should be able to apply for their passports and national ID’s online from wherever they are as long as they have a gadget and connectivity, that’s the end objective,” he said.
He said the measures will be done stage by stage and that once fully completed, people will no longer have to queue at Makombe for their documents.
“Once we get to that stage nobody will have to come to Makombe, but we will do it stage by stage and that is the ultimate solution to this congestion.
“We believe if we do that, we will also eliminate the issue of corruption because as long as there is a client and a service provider, there is bound to be corruption.
“People always come up with new ways to try the system and in our view, technology is the solution, because technology cannot be bribed. So, the moment we are going to computerize and remove that human interface then we deal with corruption,” Kazembe said.
Be patient as we work on passport production