President Emmerson Mnangagwa has ordered the Minister of Home affairs to quickly fix the passport crisis amids reports that Zimbabweans in diaspora were now at the risk of being deported.
According to Information Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa at the post cabinet briefing press conference, cabinet was worried with the prolonged crisis that has been bedevilling the country by citizens both within and outside the country in obtaining passports and other identity documents.
Mutsvangwa said due to the urgency of the crisis, cabinet has directed that production of at least 3 000 passports a day commences within the next three to four weeks amid indications that those in the diaspora were now at risk of losing their jobs.
“On the basis of this, therefore we wish to advise the nation that work towards the return to normalcy in the production of the Zimbabwean passport is now at an advanced stage. All the necessary capital equipment is now in place while payment has already been made for the associated consumables,” Mutsvangwa said.
The country has been battling to provide the travel documents due to a misunderstanding between government and an Israeli company, Nikuv, which has a contract to print passports on behalf of the Registrar General’s office.
The company stopped production to force the government to settle a debt.
Mnangagwa then announced that Fidelity Printers, a government-owned entity, would take over the printing of passports.
Due to the crisis, desperate Zimbabweans have been forced to fork out as much as USD$400 in bribes to get the passports.
According to information at hand only 30 passports were being processed a day while those wishing to get emergency travel documents made to wait for more than 10 months.