LITTLE has changed at the ordinarily chaotic and generally inefficient registrar general’s (RG) office more than one hundred days into president Emmerson Mnangagwa’s new regime.
After assuming power last November following a military revolt which toppled then president Robert Mugabe, Mnangagwa told the civil service that it would no longer be business as usual.
He demanded that government departments come up with targets to be achieved in the first 100 days of his administration.
Still, the new dispensation appears to have made little impact at the RG’s department which is headed by Tobaiwa Mudede who has been in post since independence in 1980.
Appearing before legislators this week, Mudede who is believed to be way over the retirement age, refused to tell MPs his age, but claimed that he was the most efficient RG on the continent.
Despite his boast however, the department is still struggling to cope with demand for national identity documents, passports, birth and death certificates across the country.
At the department’s Makombe Building offices in Harare this Tuesday, staffers appeared to have improved efficiency in serving those who want to register for passports with queues much shorter than usual during the course of the day.
It is actual processing of the documents which has however, seemingly worsened.
For cheapest passport which costs $53 one must now wait for between four and six months for the document to be processed, a delay most applicants felt was unnecessarily too long.
The waiting period had significantly reduced during the Government of National Unity between 2009 and 2013 with applicants needing just under three weeks before they could collect their passports.
As for the $250-dollar passport, which normally would in the past take three days to process, applicants most now wait a whole week.
Meanwhile, the emergency passport which costs a whopping $318 and is supposed to take just 24 hours can now only be collected after between 48 and 72 hours.
Service users who spoke to NewZimbabwe.com this Tuesday said the RG’s office was now only concerned with collecting money from applicants but not bothered about providing efficient service.
“All they want is our money, that is why they make sure everyone who wants a passport is served in time; but once they get your money, the process adopts a snail’s pace,” said one Marshal Chikurunhe.
Another applicant, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said she had submitted her application on December 3 and was told to collect her passport in June this year.
The National Identity Card office however, seemed to be running smoothly with a very short queue noticeable around 10 am.