The decentralisation of the electronic passports (e-passports) continued yesterday, with a bio-enrolment centre being launched in Chitungwiza.
The opening of the centre follows the launch of the e-passport by President Mnangagwa on December 14 last year.
E-passport services were brought to Chitungwiza district by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, through the Civil Registry Department, in recognition of its position as the third largest urban settlement in the country in terms of population size.
The availability of the service to Chitungwiza is bound to benefit surrounding communities, including Stoneridge, Hopley, Seke, Mahusekwa and Beatrice.
Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Mr Aaron Nhepera, who represented Minister Kazembe Kazembe, said the new generation e-passport had enhanced security features that mitigate against counterfeit and illegal migration activities, among other things.
“It is noteworthy that to be able to apply for a passport, one needs to be in possession of other source documents such as birth certificates and national identity cards,” he said.
“These documents are critical in a citizen’s life as they confer upon individuals the right to participate in the economic, political and social development of the country,” he said.
Mr Nhepera said the Civil Registry Department had also embarked on a mobile registration exercise countrywide, with the aim of ensuring that critical documents were accessible to all.
The national mobile registration exercise commenced on April 1 and is expected to end on September 30.
“The exercise is mainly focusing on registration of birth and death certificates and issuance of national identity documents,” said Mr Nhepera.
“It is, therefore, incumbent upon us all to ensure that we grab this opportunity to get registered and be able to enjoy our constitutionally-enshrined rights.
“All these achievements have been made possible through a Build Own Operate and Transfer (BOOT) arrangement with a private partner. Let me take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to Garsu Pasaulis (GP) for their unrelenting support in our efforts to enhance accessibility of civil registration and travel documents to our citizens and the travelling public.”
Registrar-General Mr Henry Machiri said to date, they have established 10 provincial offices, 68 district offices and 202 sub-offices countrywide.
“Services can now be accessed within reasonable time irrespective of one’s geographical location,” Mr Machiri said.
“All mandatory vital civil registration documents, that is, birth certificates, death certificates and national identity documents are issued at these offices.
“I consider the people of Chitungwiza very lucky as the decentralisation of passport services to district level started with the establishment of Chitungwiza Passport Office in December 2020, and the roll-out of the e-passport services to the district has started with this office,” said Mr Machiri.
The cascading of the e-passport services to Chitungwiza District will go a long way in de-congesting the Harare Passport Office.
Mr Machiri said the Department was making efforts to further the roll-out of e- passport services to more district offices to ensure ease of access to travelling documents as they rally towards Vision 2030 of an empowered upper middle income economy.
Chitungwiza residents were delighted that they will no longer have to travel to the Muchecheterwa Chiwashira Building in Harare to apply for passports as they now have their own centre.
Birth and death certificates as well as national identity cards will be obtained at the centre.
A Chitungwiza resident Mrs Ruth Mahere ululated continuously during the proceedings.
“Going to Harare to apply for passports was a major hurdle for us, but we are happy that we can now do it here. I would like to thank the Government for remembering us,” she said.
Mrs Varaidzo Ushendibaba said: “The centre has made it easy for the local residents’ movement to apply for passports in different centres. Sometimes we would come back from Harare without even applying for the passports because of the card system which was used in queues and some people were in the habit of selling positions to get in front.”
Mr Willie Chimunya said he was happy that the time for the production of ordinary passports had been reduced to seven days.
He also thanked the Government for remembering the people of Chitungwiza. Herald.