The rollout of electronic passports (e-passports) is continuing, with the decentralisation of their production being accelerated across the country.
Further, a system to allow for online applications is set to be completed by May, a development that will allow Diasporans to easily access the travel documents.
This was said by Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe yesterday during the Zimbabwe Diaspora Engagement forum in Dubai.
Many Zimbabweans based here had sought to find out what was being done to improve their access to travel documents.
In response, Minister Kazembe said the ultimate objective was to ensure everyone in Zimbabwe and the Diaspora accessed passports without hassles.
“We have started in Harare and we are now decentralising to the rest of provincial capitals,” said Minister Kazembe. “By the way, Your Excellency (President Mnangagwa), we are already in Bulawayo and we should start next week and from there, we are going to Gwanda then Lupane, Marondera, Manicaland, Mashonaland Central and the rest of the country.”
Minister Kazembe said by June, access to e-passports should have been decentralised throughout Zimbabwe.
In terms of the Diaspora, the Government has already identified 15 embassies where the online services would be deployed. “We will start with South Africa and for the love these people have shown you (President Mnangagwa), UAE must be second.”
“The development of the online system is now 80 percent complete and GP said by the end of April, but I want to say in May, we should have this system up and running and people can apply online,” Minister Kazembe.
Provision of passports is central to the Diaspora, who cannot get work permits if they don’t have such documents, said the Minister.
Production of passports was previously affected by the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West, which saw the country’s payments for critical consumables being rejected. When the payments could go, Covid-19 broke out and prevented transactions across the world due to lockdowns.
Said Minister Kazembe: “The President said we should think outside the box to resolve the challenge, as we do it, we should do it better, hence the coming in of e-passports.”