Alarm over ‘suspicious’ fire at passport office
The MDC-T branch in South Africa has condemned what it termed ‘clear Zanu PF sabotage’ following reports that Zimbabwe has indefinitely stopped issuing birth certificates, identity cards and passports after ‘a small fire’ at the Registrar General’s office damaged equipment.
‘We are at a loss of words to hear that the heavily guarded, passport processing centre in Harare’s military KG6 went up in smoke and as such the processing of passports has been put on hold. How convenient this development is to Zanu PF?’ Information and Publicity Secretary Sibanengi Dube claimed.
Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede has already said no key infrastructure used in the making of the identity documents had been damaged, but electronic systems had been disrupted in the fire on New Year’s Eve. Mudede also said a joint fire brigade and police investigation is underway to identify the cause.
But Dube and many other Zimbabweans trying to get passports in South Africa to regularise their stay believe it’s a stitch up job. ‘Who is behind the burning of the government plant? The honest answer is: Zanu PF. We are not just engaging in cheap finger pointing or mere grandstanding, but we are talking about something that Zanu PF has a history of doing,’ Dube said.
‘We initially warned this week that the actions of Zimbabwe government officials, both in Harare and Johannesburg were tantamount to sabotaging the on-going documentation process in South Africa. While the South African government is doing everything in its powers to assist applicants, the Zimbabwe government is literally throwing spanners in the works,’ he added.
Dube said this was ‘clearly a Zanu PF operation designed to deny Zimbabweans staying in South Africa access to passports that would allow them to travel freely and vote Robert Mugabe out of office. He said ‘Zanu PF is scared of the three million Diaspora votes of Zimbabweans staying in South Africa,’ and ‘these votes alone are enough to send Mugabe packing for the second time.’
‘No sane Zimbabwean staying in South Africa who is not related to Zanu PF functionaries will vote for Zanu PF. Zanu PF knows this. Zanu PF can do anything to remain in power. If they can razor down the homes of 18% of the Zimbabwe population so as to diffuse the urban votes, what will stop them from jamming their own passport processing plant.’
Zimbabwe turned down an offer from South Africa to use their passport printing press and this would have ‘allowed them to process 100 000 passports a day.’ This Dube believes shows Zanu PF’s determination to sabotage the process. We are certain that it is possible for the SA government to come up with a form of document that Zimbabweans can use,’ Dube added. Nehanda Radio