Over a week ago we learnt that the government would be beginning production of e-passports which are set to replace the ordinary passports that are currently in circulation. It would appear that the process has suffered some setbacks as revealed by the Deputy Minister of Information and Publicity. ePassports are not yet being produced. This is what the deputy minister had to say on the issue:
They [e-passports] are not yet issued, but there are logistics that are being done. The Minister of Home Affairs, Hon Kazembe Kazembe will issue a full statement next week about it. But everything is on course. Currently, they are doing trial runs.Kindness Paradza the deputy minister of information and publicity speaking to the Newsday on the issue
It’s not yet clear what these setbacks are exactly. It could be anything from lack of essential raw materials that are needed to make the passports to the government making sure that the people involved are fully trained or the system for people to apply for these passports is not yet. As already hinted it could be anything. Personally, I was sceptical that we would see e-passport production being made soon but even with the delays I must admit I am pleasantly surprised by the progress that has already been made thus far.
While most publications are claiming that the project was launched by President Mnangagwa that is not true. Former president Robert Mugabe actually commissioned the project back in 2016 when he launched an e-passport centre that the Chronicle claimed could produce as many as 16 000 passports per day. it’s not clear what happened to the project then but it remained on ice until last year in mid-December when President Mnangagwa announced its resuscitation although it was not framed as a relaunch but rather presented as a new launch.
A flurry of activity, it seems, has been taking place away from the public eye and it seems the project has seen more progress than its early successor. The government was confident enough over a week ago to claim that production would begin sometime during that week. When you see timeframes that short you can bet the project is more real than the mega-deals used to being told about. Sure there are a lot of things wrong including the silly arrangement where you have to pay through First Capital or CBZ rather than at the passport office but as pointed out it could be worse. No doubt the current production delays are being