via Mudede confirms what Zimbabweans have always known – DailyNews Live 11 MARCH 2014
Since independence, registrar-general (RG) Tobaiwa Mudede has confirmed what the public has always known —that there is a lot of corruption at his offices.
But this government old horse and bureaucrat need not have waited until summoning by Parliament to admit to this long-running problem, and sad state of affairs.
For the record, people have been struggling to get official documents such as passports and birth certificates, in a contrived scheme of inefficiency to create desperation and induce bribes from ordinary Zimbabweans.
With many starting to queue for papers as early as the night before – to an extent of hiring street kids to do that for them – why is it that the causes of perennial queues have not been investigated and yet Mudede unabashedly says crowds are not always there for passports but for other services, which he dare not mention.
Frankly, one has a feeling that the RG was wrongly advised, given that countries such as South Africa no longer accept Zimbabwean emergency travel documents (ETDs) because many have largely been fake.
While other countries are still grudgingly accepting these documents – upon production of an official receipt – it was often difficult to distinguish between the real ones and forged ETDs since they were done internally.
This has, however, inconvenienced many a traveller, especially the cross-border trader and at a time industries are rapidly shutting down, and jobs are hard to come by.
And as Zimbabweans grapple with this key socio-economic issue, Mudede has the temerit to tell us that only two officers have been caught in Seke and Bulawayo, yet headlines rage on Asian and west African nationals continuing to obtain residency papers on “forged marriage certificates”.
Melusi Matshiya, the Home Afdairs permanent secretary, said in admitting the official paper rackets: “We have had serious cases and we decided that it is better to dismiss those found to be corrupt, as we are having some appealing to the court and being cleared of any wrong doing. But we are not going to continue working with them as they are bad apples and we don’t even transfer them to any sub office.”
Despite our – and indeed the generality of the population’s – reservations on the effectiveness of this policy, it must be clearly understood that corruption at this key office and which issues vital documents has security implications for the country.
For instance, some criminals and even extremists might find sanctuary in our shores, and country after obtaining these falsified documents, and this really has a chilling feeling on the spines of many Zimbabweans that there could be some unsavoury characters in our midst and profiting from some greedy, and corrupt people in the RG’s office.
As such, it remains to be seen whether Mudede will sweep his house clean and clear the queues.
But for as long as there are queues – whether for the other services that the documentation chief alluded to or not – it means that the system is not working somehow, somewhere and desperation wil continue to fuel corruption.