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Zimbabwe runs out of passports, adding to long list of shortages

Zimbabwean passport

Zimbabwean passport

Zimbabwe has run out of passports and vehicle registration number plates, forcing citizens to wait for long periods to get them - yet another sign of a desperate shortage of U.S. dollars in the southern African nation.

A hoped-for economic turnaround under President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took over from Robert Mugabe after a 2017 coup, is yet to materialise. Instead, Zimbabweans are enduring shortages of U.S. dollars, fuel, bread and 15-hour power cuts.

Last week, the government renamed its interim currency, the RTGS dollar, the Zimbabwe dollar and made it the country’s sole legal tender. That ended a decade of dollarisation and took another step towards relaunching a fully-fledged currency.

At the passport office in Harare early on Wednesday, hundreds of people huddled in the morning winter cold after arriving as early as 5 a.m. (0300 GMT) to queue to apply for passports. They were told to check their documents in 2022.

That is because a special paper and ink used to make passports has to be imported but there is no foreign currency. Bothwell Mhashu, one of those queueing, said he wanted to escape the economic troubles at home and join his elder brother in Namibia. He applied for a passport in June 2018 and was supposed to get his document after three months.

“They just told me that my passport is not ready, I have to check again in August. This is not fair,” a despondent Mhashu said as he left the passport office.

In 2008, Zimbabweans slept at the passport office to be first in line to apply as an economic crisis and hyperinflation wrecked the country’s currency under Mugabe. An ordinary passport costs 53 Zimbabwe dollars ($6.32) while ZW$318 is required for an emergency 24-hour document. No emergency passports are being issued except for a few senior officials.

Registrar General Clemence Masango declined to comment when contacted by Reuters on Wednesday. But officials at the registrar general’s office said there were plans to print passports locally at central bank-owned Fidelity Printers and Refiners to clear a backlog of more than 50,000 applications.

That is, if they can import the equipment needed. At the vehicle registry in central Harare, officials told motorists that they were not sure when number plates would be available because the department is still waiting for foreign currency from the central bank to pay a German supplier.

“We don’t know when we will have number plates, maybe in September,” said a registry official who declined to be named.

Transport Minister Joel Matiza said he could not immediately comment. Soaring inflation and shortages are reminding Zimbabweans of the dark days under Mugabe, but Mnangagwa’s government says this is the pain of reform that will ultimately revive the economy.

Comments

0 #1 Akot 2019-07-04 21:11
[A hoped-for economic turnaround under President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took over from Robert Mugabe after a 2017 coup, is yet to materialise.]

Thanks!

This is what happens when a people allow dictators to rule for years, without chance of real opposition!

Uganda is worse as Musevnei or his son will leave them in the divisive tribalistic system without National Leadership, while tribal leaders will look up to the empty chaire for their handouts!

Uganda will join Iraq, Libya, Algeria, Sudan...: lost people without common leadership for a concrete start to nation building!

Ugandans are in hot waters just as Zimbabwe & all those who got rid of long time useless rulers who allowed no opposition, but the people waited to to long to UNITE to bring change & by the time they did, the demons had ensured they are/were the only rulers!...
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0 #2 Akot 2019-07-04 21:13
...Ugandans don't see they are in worse situation yet because of the tribalistic system that ensures Museveni's place!

But Ugandans will be face to reality when Museveni they look up to, blame for not serving them but still hope will 1 day do so, will be no more!

Tribal leaders have no notion of governance to manage their land riches, serve subjects as 'citizens' who work & pay taxes, but they too, will be face to empty State House, while waiting for their allowances!

How will subjects who worship tribal leaders & Ugandans without tribal leaders, continue in the triblistically divided & ruled zone without Museveni, the only ruler our people have/want in common, even when he is their common enemy?
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0 #3 Akot 2019-07-04 22:00
[At the passport office in Harare early on Wednesday, hundreds of people huddled in the morning winter cold after arriving as early as 5 a.m. (0300 GMT) to queue to apply for passports.]

But,

These are Zimbabweans who have the means to pay their way out of the shithole, just as it's with the rest of the world shitholes!

So, where are these Zimbabweans migrating, because non will go back?

So many Africans with means are paying human traffickers to take them to Europe, while many are saving so as to do so!

Not even UN sees these migrants are from countries ruled & destroyed by dictators & in countries that population more than doubles every 10 years while poverty entrenches itself!...
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0 #4 Akot 2019-07-04 22:11
...Migration is the biggest money earner for UN/traffickers, while it bolsters/assures dictators & useless rulers left to rule for life!

It's those will education, money, parents/the under aged looking for better life, leaving shitholes as they can pay their way out!

But those without education, no income, are ignored by dictators/UN/EU & left to die poor of old age at 45 in villages!

Migration brings millions of dollars/euros/pounds in donations/contribution from member states to UN!

While almost the entire continent of Africa is so lost as to what 'nation, people, belonging to country, how to govern & manage/redistrbute land riches in Education, Subsidised/Modernised Agriculture..., our useless rulers/tribal leaders/elites are the richest in the world!...
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0 #5 Akot 2019-07-04 22:14
...Africa is furnishing migrants endlessly to Europe, while African rulers ignore the subject completely as if they are not the root cause of this inhuman displacement!

Funny, USA & EU member states doing well are victims of mismangement/dictatorship of Africa & of the rest of the world: migrants are endlessly trying their way to USA/Europe saying it's their rights to be taken in because they are 'humans'!

Pitty, Brexit stalled & this has given hope for Africans & other migrants who want to reach UK, which means, UK is in real real trouble if it doesn't stand up as a 'real nation'!

But then again, it's 'migration that is causing mess, confusion, brought down European old long time political paties & Europe has never been so UNSERTAIN!
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