The government has directed that emergency passports be applied for and be issued from Harare only, The Sunday News reports. The government reportedly came to that decision after it emerged the emergency passports are taking longer sometimes up to a week to reach their owners which defeat the purpose of them being emergency passports.
Acting Registrar-General Mr Henry Machiri spoke to the publication on the new development and said:
It is not that we are denying them to apply from any offices they wish but if you look at it, you apply for a 24-hour passport and you are in Bulawayo and we take four or more days to give you that passport, that becomes a breach of contract. That’s where the matter is.
For this US$ passport if you give us your application at 9am, you are supposed to get it at 9am the following day.
One is confident that they can book a flight to travel at 1pm as they are guaranteed of a passport in 24 hours. Imagine booking a flight and the passport does not come back in the stipulated 24 hours because you applied from Bulawayo. That will be bad.
We want to ensure that we honour our contract with you by giving you the passport in 24 hours. Provinces outside Harare are now scared to breach that contract, hence they do not want citizens to apply anywhere outside the Harare RGs office.
We have recorded instances where we have been taken to court for breaching contracts when a passport is not availed in 24 hours after paying forex and the courts looked at our agreement where we promised to deliver in 24 hours and we are found on the wrong side.
Machiri said vehicles from other provinces are coming to Harare once a week and this completely erases the possibility of emergency passports being ready for collection in 24 hours. The registrar general’s office had a massive backlog before the lockdown that started in March.
More: The Sunday News