There were abnormally long queues at the Registrar General’s offices in Harare today as thousands, if not tens of thousands, of desperate Zimbabweans, turned up hoping to secure the now priceless document.
Most of these people were ultimately unsuccessful and had to endure a long thankless day at the offices. It turns out that most people went to the passport offices after being wrongly informed that their passports would be guaranteed if they topped up $250 before the 15th of October.
Explaining his ordeal, one unfortunate applicant said,
Passport Office update …..For some reason, maybe to generate extra revenue, the passport office announced something to the effect that if you top up zw $250 before the 15th October, you can get your emergency passport processed in 3 days, and today there must have been 20,000 people pushing their way down darkened corridors looking for the elusive cardboard box outside of the toilets, that we were meant to drop our application letters into for processing. It is absolute bedlam and I am not exaggerating. I am not ashamed to admit I failed, having spent the morning there I finally succumbed and came home having achieved nothing except preserving a semblance of my sanity. Not for the faint-hearted.
Another applicant added,
l was there, l was told to come back 8 October with an explanation letter why l need to top up, to my surprise l got there and tjo seemed the whole country was there only to have my letter thrown in a box that had millions of letters there and to come back on the 15th. l was really heartbroken and really wanted to cry today.
The Zimbabwean passport has become priceless as the government is reported to be battling to clear a backlog of over 350 000 passports while only producing less than 800 passports per day.