Corruption is reported to be rife at the Registrar General’s offices in Manicaland Province, with officials taking advantage of the shortage of consumables used to produce national identity cards, birth and death certificates to solicit bribes.
Investigations carried out by The Manica Post over the past fortnight at some registry offices in the province revealed that corrupt officials were working with security guards and their runners to solicit bribes from desperate people seeking the vital documents to facilitate quick service.
At Chipinge, Makoni and Mutare registry offices, people are reportedly being made to pay between US$5 and US$10 for the various services offered at the offices.
Those who pay the bribes to the runners are then led to the respective offices where they are promptly served, while those unwilling or unable to pay the bribes have to spend hours in queues.
At the Mutare office, unless one joins the queues in the wee hours of the morning, those who want to obtain national identity cards are booked into the system and given a date to return for the ID processing.
However, those who could pay US$10 to the officials can still obtain her ID on the same day.
Manicaland Provincial Registrar, Joyce Munamati said people who are asked to pay bribes at the offices should approach her office provided that they have evidence to back their claims. She said:
The issue of shortages of consumables for IDs is a national issue, but we are doing everything possible to assist those who need them, especially those in areas where by-elections will be held.
People should not rush to the media with unfounded allegations of corruption. There can be isolated cases, but you should not paint everyone with the same brush.
If they are not happy with the services of our district officers, they should know that there is a provincial officer who is always ready to assist them.
Whenever people encounter any corrupt tendencies from our staff, they should approach my office with the necessary evidence and I will assist them.
We have noticed that some of the people who complain do not have all the documents required to get national IDs.