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Tanzania: Govt to issue e-passports, tight screws against misuse

THE government will soon start replacing the current passport with the technologically savvy e-passport, the Minister for Home Affairs, Dr Mwigulu Nchemba, has said.

He revealed that the government has reached a good stage in preparing new passports and that soon it will start issuing them to qualified Tanzanians. The Minister was speaking during a special programme aired by the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) on his ministry’s performance.

Without mentioning the exact date when the issuing of new passport is set to commence, Dr Nchemba said 75 per cent of the project has been completed. “I can confirm that we have reached a good stage, only a quarter has remained before completing all procedures of issuing electronic passports,” he said.

According to Dr Nchemba, the new passport will exclude all people who have been using illegal means to obtain Tanzanian passports. “Some people have been arrested in various countries doing illegal activities, when the police interrogate them, they claim to be Tanzanians … and they are found with Tanzanian passports, but later we realise that they got such documents illegally and sometimes they do not even belong here,” he noted.

Dr Nchemba said the use of new technology in issuing passports is expected to seal all gaps that have been used by culprits to obtain illegal passports. “We are not very far, soon we will start issuing new passports and this will mark the end of illegal uses of Tanzanian passport,” he said.

In March 2015, the Immigration Department announced that the government was in the process of introducing an epassport, which would be accompanied by modernisation of services at the department to conform to the fast changing technology.

According to immigration, the new passport will come with tamper proof electronic features and help the department end misuse or fraud associated with the current manual passport issuance system. Yesterday, the Minister said soon the government through the Immigration department will start issuing new passports.

On the National Identification process, Dr Nchemba said so far a total of 15 million Tanzanians have been registered countrywide. He said the exercise is set to start in other four regions soon. “We are registering all Tanzanians; I would like to ask all Tanzanians who meet the criteria to appear for registration in their areas,” he said.

He warned people who illegally stay in the country to surrender themselves to the authority, so that they can be instructed on the proper procedures of staying in the country. “With this registration, every Tanzanian is going to be identified; I am therefore advising those who are in the country contrary to the law to follow immigration procedures,” he said.

On the state of security, Dr Nchemba assured Tanzanians that the police force and other security organs continue to protect them and their properties.

Commenting on the situation in Kibiti District, Coast Region, where unknown people killed dozens of people early this year, Dr Nchemba said the situation has been contained and that both social and economic activities are now continuing without problems.

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