No passports, IDs, certificates for you, Registrar’s systems have been down for over a month

Leonard Sengere Avatar
Passport, online passport application, Ministry of Home Affairs, Zimbabwe National Digital Registry, e-passport application, e-passports

The one thing that really grinds my gears, and I imagine yours too, in Zimbabwe is the nonchalance with which you will be told, ‘the system is down.’ Usually, there are visible signs of annoyance on the face of the employee telling you that. No doubt exasperated that you’re even bothering them with that when there is a sign on the door that clearly says the system is down.

The ‘the system is down’ retort invites no further questions. You try to ask, ‘so when do you think it will be back up?’ Before you even finish that sentence, you are shot a look that says ‘do I look like the system to you, how should I know?’ You cower back with your tail between your legs and barely whisper ‘I’ll try again tomorrow’ to which you get a nod that says ‘be off then.’

Sometimes when that happens you can brush it off but sometimes it happens at the most inopportune of times. For some, the system went down when they were in foreign lands trying to use their Visa cards. It doesn’t get much worse than that.

System down at Registrar General offices

There is a contender though. Apparently, the Registrar General’s offices across the country have not had internet access for over a month. As a result, the handy ‘the system is down’ has been in use like never before.

What that system being down means is that citizens are unable to access passports, national ID cards, and birth, death and marriage certificates. You need a passport so you can take advantage of that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? Tough luck my friend, the system is down.

We all scolded the Registrar’s Offices for adopting technology late. Until as late as December 2021, they still used a manual system for issuing birth and death certificates. We celebrated when they made the transition.

This is what we get for pushing them to computerised systems. There was a lot to deal with in the manual days but never the ‘system is down’ slap.

The system is down my friend, deal with it

Newsday talked to some employee at one of the RG’s offices and they said,

People are wasting their fuel and money going around the country in search of national documents, but the system is down. We are not sure of what is happening to the internet. We are waiting for instructions from the management on whether we will start doing the documents manually.

So, not only are people failing to get the documents they need, they are going on wild goose chases around the country, thinking certain branches will be able to serve them, only to waste time and money.

After that, they hear ‘we are waiting for instructions on how to proceed.’ That is infuriating. So, what does the management that is being waited on to make a decision say about the matter?

The nonchalance will not shock you. The Registrar General could not be bothered to comment on the matter, instead directing the questions to his deputy. The deputy was not reachable.

Newsday then reached out to the Home Affairs secretary and he said,

Where did you get that information? You can talk to the RG, he might have detailed information. I am out of office for now

Aaron Nhepera, Home Affairs ministry secretary

Surely the RG’s office and even the Home Affairs ministry could have done a better job at resolving the internet problem plaguing their offices. We are not even sure what the employee meant when they said they don’t know what’s going on with the internet. Surely it can’t be an internet access problem. I don’t see how they could go for over a month without their ISP fixing that problem.

At the very least they could have clearly communicated that their system is down and not have people making the unnecessary commute to their offices.

Unfortunately, we got neither. Are we not demanding better service as Zimbabweans or is it a lost cause trying to call for it? I don’t know? But what do you think about all this?

Also read:

Everything you need to know about Zim’s new e-passport

You can now book e-passport applications online. Here’s how you do it

EcoCash and ZIPIT should know the power they have, these system outages are not acceptable



What’s your take?

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  1. José

    Ohh someone forgot to pay the WiFi Bill, and it sucks being Zimbabwean 😑

    1. Anonymous

      The very sad thing is that if you wave US$ .under his / her nose
      The internet would miraculously come back on .

  2. Lloyd Choto

    Is this real? My sister collected hers about 4 or 5 days ago. I forgot to ask her where but I think it was at Market Square.

    1. Anonymous

      Its very real, I’m also a victim. Im failing to get my passport ya2019 coz system iri down.

      1. Misty

        We applied for a passport at Harare passport office for on monday 17 october and received a text message that it was ready for collection on thursday 20 october. We collected it with no issue

      2. Anonymous

        I had a similar issue but I asked them to just cancel my old application so I could start the process again, in the end I got my passport in a weeks time. To add on my niece just submitted her application two days ago in Bulawayo with no issues as well.

  3. Dr Who

    In Zimbabwe government officials are punished for transparency and forthright communication that is needed to cut costs of doing business. No government department shares online status report of availability or nonavailability government systems. Registrar General Companies Registry and Deeds Registry are major culprits.

    The websites for most government don’t even bother to try ti facilitates the hassle-free setting up and running of business functions that require government services. Most government websites are barely ever online and running as intended.

    The government portal for government services such as Deeds and Company Registries can’t even function beyond attempts to register that is always unsuccessful. The government portal like most government websites does not have a support contact to report abd assist resolve problem. If a contact is present it either is non-functional or one get no reply.

    Deeds and Company Registries are mainly paper based archives of valuable documents but the services face problems of accounting and indexing of files such that the network can be down for days to weeks and people have to join the que daily and hope the network will be working as no online status reports of the availability of network are shared with the public. The paper files have poor security and some files for troublesome companies are missing at both Harare and Bulawayo offices possibly stolen

  4. Mad

    It is very sad that we are in a country where our youngsters are winning Gold in innovation from events in prestigious countries abroad, yet we cannot have crucial government services running at a decent technological level. My own investigation indicated a licenced program or software that has not been paid up. We had to acquire a hand written birth certificate from the town of origin, at huge costs, in order to access e-Passport services. However, the laugh was on us, as the offices rejected the high cost hand written birth certificate. Luckily, they accepted an old passport as an alternative.

  5. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

    The biggest problem is that these departments and parastatals do not publish notices to update on the status quo. The ministry of information even insisted that passports were available and CBZ payments were the glitch. CBZ never issued a statement. The ministry of information never withdrew its statement. But, later, after days of no services, the RGs department published a contradictory statement.

    Even by the time ZESA publishes notices of load shedding, you would have been already under load shedding for days. It’s as if they want to hide problems and incompetence, because by putting out a notice you have essentially put your failure in black and white.

  6. Bk Chibwe

    Clearly this is politics at play, no doubt about it

  7. Patricia

    How is that so? My parents went there 2 weeks ago and got their passports last week.

    1. Unknown

      When I tried to get a birth certificate they told us there was no network, but only at e-passports it was business as usual.

  8. Patricia

    How is that so? My parents went there 2 weeks ago and got their passports last week. Now you are saying its been a month…

  9. Hapana KwatiriKuenda

    I was at the Registrar about 3-4 weeks ago to get birth certificate copies only to be told that the “system is down”. I then got some information from someone ” internal and big” working at the Registrar that the reason why the “system was down” is because of politics. Remember how critical the Registrar general office is in everything concerning the country and its future .. future planning, elections, etc.

    Inonzi Zimbabwe iyoyo ….yakauya negidi

  10. Matigari is here

    Extreme and gross incompetence. due to non payment and breach of contract NIKUV from Israel locked their system responsible for birth certificates and old passports. There’s a new service provider for the new ePassport that’s why they are not currently affected (until they decide not to pay again).

  11. Anonymous

    Only Harare and Bulawayo are accepting passport applications and they are limited. The rest of the country has to wait until government and Nikuv sort out their issues

  12. Addie

    Don’t you worry, we will sort this out after elections

  13. 20

    I processed 3 passport for my kids at 120 price on Monday this very week… It went smoothly… And there were hundreds others with me. Definitely not true. Just go yourself and see

  14. Ruto

    Was at Parirenyatwa last week for a birth certificate, we were told to come after 2 months and collect. Waiting a whole 2 months to collect a simple birth certificate guys. We are cursed.

    1. Anonymous

      Try the passport office in Harare, I managed to get mine there after waiting for the whole day yet they had made a mistake on the origin of my birth. Had to do the process before my passport but I got it in the end.

  15. Anonymous

    Passports are being collected my friend after 7 days. Stop misleading people.

    1. Mad

      Catch the explanations above, only e-passports are being issued because they use a separate system from birth certificates and standard passports

  16. Anonymous


  17. Anonymous


  18. Greyhora

    I have been failing to get a birth certificate for my new born child for a month now. The system is indeed said to be down. Non payment of services is the rumored reason. Only epassports seem to be issued for those with id’s and BCs. But remember you need a BC to process an ID or passport.

  19. Sethiselwe Sithole

    I am a victim re registered for my son’s birthcertificate in July till today kunongozi system iri down apa kuchikoro vavakuida birth certificate iyoyo handichazivi ndodii.Ndatopererwa ndavakutopfunga kuti myb ichauya hayo muna Nov

  20. Sponono

    I am a victim. True there was a tym wen they could tell you that the system is down. Around September and it stretched for more than two weeks across all centres Harare included. Maybe they resumed processing of passports in Harare, but it should be a very recent development. No official communication from the authorities wat so ever. Zero zero until you travel to the offices. That’s Zimbabwe for u

  21. EC

    Why would you peddle such false news just to destroy the reputation of your country. I was at the passport office and the system was seamless. Systems may have challenges, but what makes you so proud of not saying anything good about the new system. You people destroy our pride as Zimbabweans, that’s why you never rise above where you are

    1. ECD

      New E-Passport or standard old one? Which city/office?
      And for curiosity’s sake, what reputation?

    2. Anonymous

      True,people need to understand home will always be home regardless. Stop focusing on the bad but instead look for opportunity, time and chance happen to is not unfair people just make wrong choices and blame others for it.

      1. ECD

        Lol, I can’t help but see the ‘Its Fine’ meme! Admittedly, most Zimbabweans have been conditioned into this mindset, mostly out of necessity. But guys, if you ignore nonsense like not being able to get National Documents for the sake of national pride, nothing will get better. And unfortunately, the main opportunities those presiding over this state of affairs are seeking is squeezing more bribes and kickbacks out of the desperate public.

  22. Kadar


  23. khaalid

    My bhsnees ineed mobios

  24. ….

    How much epassport

  25. Samantha

    Can you please inform us here when the birth certificate system is back online 🙏🏾

  26. Anonymous

    Guys, my Fiance (a Zim national) is there to get his non-marriage certification. They told him the system is down and there is nothing they can do about it. He is there right now! Does anyone have any info on where can he get help? There’s an agency here in SA who helps people get the certificate, I called and they said they are not taking new applications because there is no movement there in Zim, people submitted their applications, supporting documents and paid the very high fee but still haven’t received their papers. Now they believe they have been scammed. What is happening in that country?

  27. Joshua Mawarire

    In Beitbridge people are applying and they also get their traveling documents