If you are recognized as a common citizen like me in Zimbabwe, then definitely you would concisely agree with me that there is no joy in approaching the Registrar General’s offices be it Makombe Passport Offices, The Birth Certificate Offices or even the Companies Registry.
By Shingie Lev Muringi
One main big reason being their dismal failure to move with times and digitize all the piled up records in their offices. For another reason, this is one main area which gave birth to high corrupt activities at these offices, leaving the common citizens in some very difficult situations whenever they try to acquire national documents like IDs, Birth Certificates, Passports, and other constitutional paperwork.
Up to date, the Registrar’s offices still inhabits piles of legacy paperwork which has not been migrated to supplement the digital demands of our generation. Just a one minute observation at the Makombe Birth Certificate Offices will tell you right away that something is horribly wrong about the way data is captured, stored, distributed and referenced.
I have decided to make a thorough research on how our neighboring countries have managed to migrate from the bureaucratic means of document provision to the digital platforms which integrates efficiency when serving the citizens. Here the four main areas which Mr Tobaiwa Mudede and his counterparts should look at if they are to lighten the workload through digitization of gross data.
This one is two-fold. Digital documentation not only empowers you to provide far superior service to your clients, but digital systems give you much better customer service than stacks of paper, illegible handwriting, and wonky Word templates.
Let’s start with the service. If all those gross paperwork we see at the Registrar’s offices has been fully computerized and converted into digital formats such as PDFs, Docx, Ms Word and other computer readable formats, it would have been much easier and faster to serve all those thousands of citizens who throng the Registrar’s offices on daily basis.
As for the citizens, it will be a big relief whenever one once help from those offices, be it a matter of national documents or company registrations. Also all the data captured will never be lost or said not found which eliminates corruption in the system for those who might want to extort bribes from desperate citizens.
You may remember the towering stacks of paper we described in our introduction. If your inbox is overflowing, your desk is a mess, and your filing cabinets feel like they’re multiplying, it’s probably beginning to impact your productivity (and your sanity). But sadly this is the order of the day at the Registrar’s offices.
By transitioning all their documentation into a digital system, the Registrar’s offices could be realizing some from of efficiency when providing documents to their service audience. Plus,they will be able to find all the information they need about a citizen on the same platform without need of referencing back to their dusty paper galleries.
As mentioned above, a well organized database at the Registrar’s will instill accountability amongst the officers who work in those documentation departments. Digital systems will eliminate human errors when processing data and nothing captured can never be said missing in the future.
Furthermore, on issues of fake documents being born at the Registrar’s office will be wiped off the system since the signatories responsible for all document creations will be traced unlike the current paper logged systems which makes it difficult to exhibit accountability.
If there is one area which needs improvement at the Registrar’s offices then it has to be issues of professionalism. The service officers at the Registrar’s offices are well known for ill treating citizens through scolding and cheeky behavior. This is mainly because the systems on which they work are very frustrating due to repetitive work which needs a lot of patience when working with a people of diverse backgrounds.
Fully digitizing their operations will help better customer service delivery when handling citizens. Working on a digital system will give no room for unnecessary dialogues between officers and citizens but rather let the computers do the job upon request of certain information.
The battle for relevance continues…follow Shingie Levison Muringi our Technology Research Specialist and Sub Editor on Twitter @ShingieMuringi1, Email [email protected] or direct Cell: 0775 380 652 for all the latest trending technological issues in and outside Zimbabwe.