Corruption at RG’s office

Those seeking birth and national identification documents here have lodged complaints of corruption among staff at the Registrar General’s offices.

Queues at the office of the Registrar General.
Queues at the office of the Registrar General.

“We have to camp out if we have any hope of getting our documents,” said Philip Mutema fom Dombotombo. “Only the first 10 applicants are served fairly, the rest are forced to bribe the officials for their documents. I have been waiting here with my friends for eight days in the hope of getting our papers. We keep ending up at the back of the queue, whereas those with spare cash to grease the palms of the officials don’t even have to queue.”

The queues are particularly long at the moment due to the number of school leavers who need ID documents to register for tertiary education or travel permits.

“I have lost hope,” said another applicant, 18-year-old Spiwe Mwenga. “I’ll come back when there is no corruption and the staff is more professional.”

The corruption allegedly started when security guards established a system where bribes would guarantee applicants a ‘deal’ with government officials to have their documents processed out of working hours.

The District Registrar could not be reached for comment but a senior official at the offices said: “Although I do not want to defend corruption, I cannot confirm whether ‘dirty money’ is exchanging hands or not. I am only aware that a number of applicants were being turned away without their documents. The District Registrar is better placed to clarify the issue”.

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