Despite widespread confusion and chaos, it seems the Zimbabwean government is marching on with its surprise introduction of e-passports. We and a lot of other people were sceptical that the project would ever see the light of day but it seems we were wrong on that point. According to state TV, ZTV as the old horse is known, we should expect e-passport production to start today or tomorrow or at the very least this week. Now that’s a pleasant surprise but questions remain.

We are going to start issuing the passports within the next 3 days and training of staff was key to come up with a seamless process.

The change over from the old to the new system requires extensive training of personnel and we are happy that we have completed the process as you can see our workers are being educated by the trainers on how the system works.

Chukkri Assal MD of Garsu Pasaulis

If you are wondering who Chukkri Assal is or what Garsu Pasaulis is you are not alone. You, we and a lot of other people are wondering about that too. Turns out that Garsu Passaulis is a Lithuanian company that has “partnered with the government” on the project. Hopefully, that is a thoughtful partnership because in the past that has been the main reason why a number of government projects have failed. More often than not the “partnership” is actually a corruptly awarded tender given to a briefcase company that then attempts to find an actual company that can implement the project after charging an exorbitant fee. The Wicknell Chivayo and Drax incidents come to mind.

Personally, I have seen this country launch so many promising and awesome sounding deals that never go anyway to believe this will be any different. I will only start applauding the project once we see it in full action. Even if they start producing passports I will only acknowledge success once they start eating into that passport backlog that has plagued the country since around 2017 or so when the liquidity crisis reached a fever peak. Again there is a tendency by government officials to exaggerate their success. A case in point is the ZBC launch of other channels. They did but how many people are watching those thanks to lack of preparation and publicity?