via Mudede refuses to budge on passports 20/05/2014 NewZimbabwe
REGISTRAR general Tobaiwa Mudede has told Parliament that he will not decentralise the production of passports despite the ever increasing demand for the document as people escape the country’s failing economy.
Early this year, Mudede told the Parliamentary Committee for Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services that long queues of people seeking to apply for or renew travel documents were overwhelming his staff.
“There is a high demand for passports in Zimbabwe as people are leaving to escape the economic crisis the country is facing,” he said.
The trouble the department faces coping with the huge demand has led to calls for the decentralisation of production of the travel document.
He said such a move could compromise the country’s security and its international image as fraudsters would prey on the system and produce fake travelling documents.
“People do not apply for a passport to go to Kariba or Victoria Falls but outside the country and this has to do with the security of other countries hence we are not going to allow decentralisation of the production of passports,” he said.
“We have to authenticate on the citizenship of people. If we allow everyone to approve that we face a situation where terrorists can access documentation and end up having passports which might compromise our international security.”
There has been an increase in the number of people applying for passports lately and Mudede said his office is now producing 3,000 passports daily with a capacity to increase if pressure mounts.
Despite ruling out production of the documents, the official however said lodging of application forms could still be done from district offices.
“We are monitored by Interpol and other international security groups, so if we fail to keep our passports in tight security you will not be allowed to travel abroad freely without any hassle,” he said.
He said as public demand increases, those wishing to submit passport applications from neighbouring South Africa can now do so in Bulawayo, Gweru and Masvingo unlike in the past when it was only done at Central Registry in Harare.