By Shorai Murwira
Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe Thursday had a shock of his life when he almost became a victim of corruption at the Passport office in Harare.
Kazembe visited the passport offices in disguise.
It is said that a man approached him, asking for a US$30 fee for him to jump the queue and avoid the long and frustrating line.
According to him, Kazembe, “the man was later held in police cells,” for the act.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) confirms that the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage effected an arrest on Avito Newton (40) at Makombe Building, at about 0645 hrs.
“The Minister overhead the suspect touting for persons who wanted to be assisted in obtaining passport application forms at a cost of US$ 30 before inviting the suspect to his motor vehicle, acting as if he wanted to be assisted,” ZRP said.
“The suspect was handed over US$50 which he took and started to negotiate with the Honourable Minister on passport acquisition and was subsequently arrested.”
Rot has always been reported at the passport offices with document seekers complaining of spending nights in queues without progress.
However, last year, Kazembe promised to deal with corruption at the Registry Office.
Coming to Passports production, his Ministry is currently experiencing a backlog in the processing of passports.
They have a backlog of 225 747, dating back to March 2019
The backlog has been accumulating due to shortage of consumables which require foreign currency.
To address the situation, my Ministry has put in place the following measures, introduction of Double Shift Working Programme with effect from 26 April 2021.
With the introduction of the double shift working programme, the department will be in a position to produce between 4 000 and 4 500 passports a day.
Treasury also made a commitment to avail funds for the procurement of additional equipment to complement the existing machinery.
Procurement of additional equipment and consumables will increase the production capacity from 4 500 to 9 000 thereby reducing the turn-around time for the clearance of the backlog.