Difficulties encountered by citizens in trying to acquire passports forces some to cross the country’s borders illegally, risking their lives in the process.
This was said by Ellen Sithole, the deputy chairperson of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission at a media briefing of Public Hearings on the National Inquiry on Access to Documentation in Zimbabwe on Tuesday. She said:
The Commission had observed that with the prevailing socio-economic challenges, possession of a passport does not only facilitate freedom of movement as contemplated in section 66 of the constitution but is also a source of livelihood.
Many of our people today survive on cross border trade. If passports are not readily available, people have no choice but to cross borders illegally.
The government is failing to provide its citizens with passports, with the backlog now reportedly in the hundreds of thousands.
On Tuesday, there was a stampede at the offices of the Registrar-general in Harare as thousands of citizens tried to apply for the travel documents.