By Martha Leboho
Newly-appointed Registrar-General Mr Clemence Masango has urged Government to decentralise the production of passports by opening a second printing plant in Bulawayo.
This, Mr Masango said, will not only reduce the period of waiting for a new passport, but will also relieve pressure on the Harare printing plant.
Mr Masango, who was speaking in an interview on the sidelines of the Masvingo Provincial Agricultural Show last week, said acquiring a passport should be easy to citizens in all four corners of the country.
He said it was worrying that those in need of passports were being forced to wait for a long time before getting the travel document.
“We have had complaints from citizens in relation to delays in getting passports to the extent that some have to wait for between four to six months to get the document. We want to revert to a situation where getting a passport should take one at most three weeks.
“We urge Government to establish another passport printing facility in Bulawayo so those close to the city will have the documents produced there and this will also reduce pressure off the Harare printing plant,” he said.
Mr Masango, while conceding that it might take time to set up another passport producing centre in Bulawayo, pointed out that it would be prudent to eventually do so if resources permit.
“We are working towards reducing the cost of key national documents such as birth certificates and passports to ensure that everyone can easily get them because it is a right for every person to have them,” said Mr Masango.
He appealed to Zimbabweans to help in fighting the scourge of corruption saying it was the duty of every citizen to ensure the vice was contained.
Mr Masango said the Registrar-General’s department will soon introduce uniforms for its employees as part of a raft of measures to control corruption in the issuing of identity and travel documents.
“We urge citizens to help us in fighting corruption as a country since it involves those in the offices and citizens who come to apply for personal documents. We will introduce a uniform with name tags for easy identification.
“We are also working towards the establishment of more offices in the country’s district offices, to reduce the distance travelled by citizens in need of identity documents or passports,” said Mr Masango.