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.
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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 nowAaron 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?