An Israeli security company, Nikuv International Projects Ltd, is reportedly worsening the passport crisis by failing to hand over the passport printing contract to Fidelity Printers. Nikuv, which has a running contract, failed to produce passports owing to shortage of foreign currency.
Nikuv is popularly known in Zimbabwe for allegedly manipulating the 2013 elections which were won by former President, Robert Mugabe.
Zim Morning Post has reported that Nikuv may sue the government if the contract is handed over to Fidelity printers which had the capacity to print at least five million passports when Nikuv was awarded the tender.
An official at Fidelity Printers who spoke to Zim Morning Post said:
We are only waiting for the tender from the government but I understand that NIKUV is not willing to release the tender.
The official added that Zimbabwe signed an open contract with Nikuv. This means that the only option for the government is to persuade the company to release it. The source added that Nikuv has a monopoly.
Passport seekers have had a hard time recently as the Registrar General’s office is reportedly lacking ink and paper needed for printing passports. Zim Morning Post reports that Zimbabwe is printing only five passports per day.
Home Affairs minister, Cain Mathema revealed that there is a backlog which goes back to 2018. Resultantly, passport seekers are being told to check for their documents in 2022. Officials are reportedly asking for bribes for the documents to be processed within a week.
More: Zim Morning Post