The Zimbabwean government is set to introduce an online passport application system as a way to fight corruption at the Registrar General’s office.
The plan was revealed by Home Secretary Kazembe Kazembe during the official opening of Zimbabwe’s first District Passport Office at Chitungwiza Municipality Headquarters. He said:
We are developing an integrated information and communication technology (ICT) solution that will not only bring these physical structures to your doorstep, but bring the real service to homes via online services.
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Ideally, the entire passport application process should be done within the confines of our homes.
You see these people clapping – they cry. People get ripped off at passport offices. Corruption must stop. When people come to our offices, please serve them with the dignity they deserve. Two or three should be stopped to lead by example.
Passport applicants who spoke to NewsDay spoke out against corruption at passport offices and expressed hope that the newly opened office would operate transparently.
Passport applicant Phyllis Vambe said it was painful for someone to queue in the offices and when the authorities come in the morning “you will be surprised to be number 130”.
Vambe claimed that some passport applicants are asked to pay US $ 20 bribes to join or avoid the queue.
These sentiments were echoed by South Africa-based Chitungwiza resident Loveness Mugadza, who said that in addition to the official fee of $ 318, officials outside the premises demand $ 20 and that at the inside, passport applicants are asked to pay an additional USD 100 to be served. .
Last year, an official at the passport office told reporters they could help passport applicants get the travel document as quickly as possible as long as they had the money.
Zimbabwe has a huge passport backlog due to a severe shortage of machinery and consumables.