President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said e-passport bio-enrolment centres in the country will be increased to 14 next month.
Currently, e-passports are issued in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Chitungwiza, Hwange, Lupane and Beitbridge and Murehwa.
Writing in his weekly column in the Sunday News and Sunday Mail, Mnangagwa said the ultimate goal is to have a facility in each of the country’s 59 districts. He said:
Our eyes are now trained on the availability of passports and other travel documents, both to citizens here at home and to those living in the diaspora.
Through an inventive panoply of measures, we have now taken, I am confident all the rights and benefits related to citizen documentation as promised by Chapter 3 of our Constitution will be efficiently met and delivered to our citizens.
The measures we have taken include introducing e-passports which are cheaper, and faster and which incorporate international features and standards as recommended by the United Nations.
A couple of months ago, the President opened the e-passport bio-enrolment centre in Murehwa. He said:
As I write, seven other centres which include Beitbridge, Hwange, Bulawayo, Lupane, and Gweru among others, are already issuing e-passports.
By the end of September this year, we expect the number of such service centres to rise to 14, with the momentum being maintained until all the districts are covered.
We are extending such services to Zimbabwe’s key embassies and consulates in countries where large communities of Zimbabweans living abroad are found.
Already, work has started in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town, so the large community of Zimbabwean emigres living there will be served.
An e-passport contains an electronic chip, which holds the same information that is printed on the passport’s data page, which includes the holder’s name, date of birth and other biographic information.
The document also contains a biometric identifier. All of these features are designed to protect citizens from identity theft.