Latest News Editor's Choice

News / National

Zimbabwe to open passport offices in US, UK and Zambia

by Staff reporter
09 Jun 2024 at 04:03hrs | Views
The Cabinet recently approved the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage's Integrated Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Systems Strategy, which aims to computerize government departments in alignment with the Smart Zimbabwe 2030 Masterplan.

In an interview with The Sunday Mail's Emmanuel Kafe, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe provided insights into this initiative and discussed the government's strategies for ensuring security, preserving cultural heritage, and creating a brighter future for all Zimbabweans.


Q: Can you provide a comprehensive overview of your ministry's Integrated Information and Communication Technology Systems Strategy?

A: The strategy is a culmination of extensive research carried out by my ministry, in consultation with key stakeholders. It gives direction for the project code-named MoHACH (Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage) Integrated Systems (MIS).

The thrust of the strategy is to enhance efficiency and effectiveness through infrastructure upgrade, information sharing and systems interoperability, which contributes to ease of doing business, in line with e-government best practices.

The broad key objectives of the MIS project are to enhance service delivery, increase operational efficiency, create a platform for information sharing, create a platform for sharing ICT infrastructure, reduce corruption and improve revenue collection.

MIS is one solution that contributes to the achievement of the Smart Zimbabwe 2030 Masterplan.

It entails computerisation of each department's processes by developing solution-based software and/or applications and providing the requisite infrastructure.

The systems within the departments will then be interconnected through various interfaces to enable real-time information sharing, and this will be on a need-to-share basis.

The ministry's ICT ecosystem will then be accessible to various stakeholders to enable government-to-government, government-to-business and government-to-citizens real-time communication, subject to access protocols.

The entire system will be linked to the National Data Centre via the e-government ecosystem. I have no doubt that the full implementation of this project will promote the ease of doing business.

For example, the application for copper, entertainment, security guard and private investigator licences, visas and permits will be done from the comfort of one's home or office.

The success of the MIS project will immensely contribute to the establishment of an investment one-stop shop.

Q: Can you elaborate on the Police Integrated Information Management Systems Strategy, and the Forensic Laboratory Management System that were recently approved by Cabinet?

A: The information management system is a framework that was crafted to guide the implementation of integrated police information systems in the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).  The system is aimed at integrating other relevant systems to allow seamless sharing of information to improve service delivery to the public.

It is aimed at encompassing various systems, which include the Integrated Crime Management System, the Smart Traffic Management System, the Command and Control Centre, the Border Control System, and the Forensic and Laboratory Management System.

The broad objectives of the Police Information Management System are to provide enhanced tools for public order management, investigation, crime prevention and traffic management.

It also seeks to improve service delivery, increase operational efficiency and create a normal platform for information sharing.

The benefits of the Police Information Management System to the public include the following: a variety of channels to access services from the police will be created; an online platform for registering and tracking cases, incidents and reports; and the process for accessing police services will be simplified and become more efficient. There will also be fast, measured and assured response from the police to emergency calls.

Above all, the system will assist in eliminating corruption by limiting human physical presence on the roads as fines and arrests will be electronically monitored and effected.

The police service is continuously capacitating the Forensic Science Laboratory by acquiring and updating relevant technologies and equipment.

Recently, the ZRP took delivery of anti-narcotics detection machines that are being used in the lab. Crucially, we are training our scientists so that they have requisite skills and knowledge for the purpose.

Q: Can you outline progress made in implementing the Zimbabwe Population Registry System, and the Electronic Document and Records Management System?

A: The Zimbabwe Population Registration System is in the testing phase for some of the modules.

The system is expected to be implemented at the beginning of July 2024.

The Electronic Document and Records Management System is in its development stage and the expectation is that by the end of the year, it will be completed.

Q: What is the current status of the implementation of the Online Border Management System?

A: There has been progress because so far, the main data centre was established at the Department of Immigration headquarters and configurations with e-visa, entry and exit records, and registry modules have been done.

In addition, site visits have been done to the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, the Victoria Falls International Airport, the Victoria Falls Town Office and the Victoria Falls Barrier, Beitbridge, the Masvingo Town Office, the Masvingo Airport, Sango, the Chiredzi Town Office, the Buffalo Range Airport, Pandamatenga, Binga and the Mlambapele Border Post on a scoping mission to reassess the stations before rolling out.

The scoping for Bulawayo, Gweru, Plumtree, Maitengwe, Mpoengs, Kariba, Chirundu, Kanyemba and Mukumbura is underway and was expected to be completed by the end of May.  A data recovery site has been identified and training of the ICT technical team, and the Records and Information Management section will commence on June 3, 2024.

Q: Last year, the Government procured helicopters to be used in law enforcement. Can you give us an update on the operationalisation of the police helicopter unit?

A: It is work in progress in terms of the use of the helicopters. Remember, the Zimbabwe Republic Police had no air wing for a long time.

Once the necessary logistical and administrative procedures are cleared and in place, the public and the media will be advised accordingly. My ministry is working closely with relevant arms of the Government on this key policing thrust and dimension.

Q: We understand the police have established a dedicated traffic monitoring centre at the Harare Central Police Station to facilitate effective monitoring of public service vehicles with the aim of reducing accidents. What is your assessment of the effectiveness of this centre?

A: The centre is going a long way in bringing public service vehicle drivers to book for speeding on the country's roads.

The Commissioner-General of Police (Godwin Matanga) informed me that the police made 2 472 arrests between August 2023 and April 12, 2024.

Q: How much progress has the Government made in repatriating the remains of First Chimurenga war heroes from the United Kingdom?

A: As you might be aware, the Government of Zimbabwe sent a delegation to the UK in 2022 to carry out a survey on the remains of liberation icons in that country's institutions.

The survey discovered human remains and the delegation made a recommendation for their repatriation, as well as benchmarking visits to countries that have carried out repatriation processes.  Visits were made to Namibia, Tanzania and Kenya. A roadmap for the repatriation exercise has been drafted and awaits Cabinet approval.

The British Natural History Museum approved the return of remains of 11 individuals located in the museum.  The request for the return of human remains in the Duckworth Laboratory at the University of Cambridge has not yet been approved.

Q: How many e-passport offices have been opened so far since the inception of the project and how many are you targeting this year alone?

A: So far, 15 e-passport offices have been established at the following registry offices since the inception of the project: Harare; the Bulawayo Provincial Registry; the Chinhoyi Provincial Registry; the Marondera Provincial Registry; the Gweru Provincial Registry; the Gwanda Provincial Registry; the Lupane Provincial Registry; the Chitungwiza District Registry; the Hwange District Registry; the Murewa District Registry; the Zvishavane District Registry; the Beitbridge District Registry; the Mazowe District Registry; the Chipinge District Registry; and the Mwenezi District Registry.

This year, the department is targeting to establish e-passport offices at the following registry offices: the Gokwe South District Registry and the Mutare Provincial Registry.

Q: How many passport offices will be established outside the country?

A: The department is targeting to establish the e-passport offices in South Africa (Johannesburg and Cape Town).  The Johannesburg e-passport office is ready for commissioning.  The other offices will be established in the United Kingdom, the United States and Zambia.

Q: When is the online passport application system expected to start working?

A:The online passport application is expected to be working before the end of 2024.

Q: Are there any measures being implemented to monitor sports betting shops in the country to ensure they operate in compliance with the law?

A: To effectively monitor all sports betting shops in Zimbabwe, the Lotteries and Gaming Board carries out compliance visits as part of monitoring their activities and checking if they are complying with the law.

The Lotteries and Gaming Board requires all sports betting shops to obtain a licence and register with the regulatory authority. This ensures that they operate legally and can be held accountable for their actions. In addition, the Lotteries and Gaming Board collaborates with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's Financial Intelligence Unit to monitor financial transactions related to sports betting.

This can help identify any large or suspicious transactions that may be linked to illegal activities such as money laundering.

A WhatsApp platform and website are in place and used as a customer complaint mechanism where individuals can report any concerns or grievances related to sports betting shops.

This can help identify potential issues and initiate appropriate actions if necessary. Plans to amend the Lotteries and Gaming Act for regulated online gambling are on course since the draft principles have already been done.

Q: What is the Government doing to enhance the welfare and upscale capacity-building in the police service?

A: The Government is working on a number of measures to capacitate and enhance the welfare of the police service.

This includes the provision of accommodation to police officers and acquisition of vehicles to enable officers to attend to scenes such as cases of murder, rape, robbery, unlawful entry and theft.

The issue of conditions of service, which include accommodation, salaries, allowances and relevant benefits, is being continually reviewed by the Government, in line with economic development and performance.

On accommodation, the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities was mandated by His Excellency, the President, Dr Mnangagwa, to ensure that institutional accommodation issues are addressed.

Source - The Sunday Mail
More on: #Zambia