In a classic case of citizen journalism, a government deputy minister who went to Makombe Building incognito after receiving a tip-off of massive corruption has unearthed scandalous deals involving passport officials and accused the Registrar-General (RG’)’s Office of “incompetence”.
Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development deputy minister Tichaona Mudzingwa said since last week, he made investigations and was not impressed with what he discovered.
He said he has since urged relevant authorities to investigate the matter.
Mudzingwa said it was disheartening that after spending the night in the queue, deserving people who would have endured the cold, failed to get passport forms while those with money paid to jump the queue.
“I went to Makombe Building four times after I was touched by the plight of people who came to me complaining over the way business was being handled at the passport office, ” he said.
“On October 1, I went there with two other people and arrived at around 4am. We were issued with numbers 185 and 186 respectively, and were confident we would be served as the number of people served per day is only 200.
“On Monday last week, again we went there and got numbers 135 and 136 respectively, but again we failed to get the passport forms and on Tuesday we arrived at the passport office at exactly 3am and got number 96 and again failed to get anything.
“(Tobaiwa) Mudede (Registrar-General) and his team have to be investigated,” he said.
“It is not incompetence by him and his team, but it’s a political agenda by the office and people are supposed to be worried.
“Ordinary people we represent as politicians are struggling to get documents and it is not proper for us to sit and watch the rot at the passport office,” he said.
The deputy minister said he was touched by the plight of a number of elderly people born in Zimbabwe to parents of Malawian, Zambian or Mozambican origin, who were being denied passports because they are labelled “aliens”.
“I was touched by these people and when they later realised that I was a minister they all came to me to register their complaints,” he said.
The reduction in passport fees has led to congestion at the RG’s offices countrywide.