By James Gwati- There is an outcry in Zimbabwe as the Home Affairs ministry runs out of police clearance printing paper.
The shortage of printing copies has left thousands of people intending to leave the country for employment or studies, risking their precious opportunities.
The Police clearance, commonly known as the blue copy, is obtained from Harare’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headquarters.
Anyone intending to work or study abroad is required to produce the document.
The same could also be asked for by companies or government departments, which would offer a person a job.
It costs ZW$20 to get the police clearance.
Zimeye.com was at the CID headquarters and found hundreds of people looking for this security document being turned away.
Most of these people who got job offer letters in the United Kingdom have not been able to acquire the police clearance certificate since the beginning of this month.
“I have been coming here since the 2nd of this month and they have been telling us they do not have the police clearance printing paper,” said a young lady who got a job in the UK two months ago.
“What is frustrating is that they are not giving us any dates to expect that blue copy. They are keeping on saying that we should check every day and its annoying,” said another young lady who also got a care work in Britain.
Another lady who got a nursing job in Australia said she was only left with that police clearance to apply for her Visa.
“I have done all the tests including health check-ups and what left for me to get my Visa is the criminal record clearance and these delays are putting my chances of grabbing this job at risk. I got this job in July and my potential employer is sending me emails every day asking about my seriousness, “she said.
Also stranded are thousands of students on presidential scholarships, due to leave for their studies in China, Zambia, and South Africa.
A senior official at the CID headquarters who declined to be named said the government has “more serious priorities” than providing the police clearance printing paper.
“The issue is that the same paper is used for other security documents which are more important than the police clearance and it is this other alternative that the paper is being used for, for now,” he said.
Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe said he was unaware of the blue copy shortage.
“I am not aware of that shortage, and it may be because I was out of the country, but I will check with the relevant office and find out what the problem could be,” said Kazembe when they reached for comment.
This is not the first time Zimbabwe has announced that it has run out of such paper. Recently the registrar’s office ran out of passport printing paper.
The Transport ministry also stopped issuing learners’ driver’s licences because of the non-availability of printing paper.