Those who have, over the years, followed my meetings with the bureaucracy of different African countries in general and Zimbabwe in particular know that it is many times a daunting and very timeconsuming business. Like getting a birth-certificate for Eric, that took a few days of waiting in queues and running around. Getting a passport is more of a Kafka-like black farce and loads of patience is a must.
Because of this and other reasons I have never bothered to try and get a Zimbabwe national ID, something a resident is supposed to have if you have been living here more than 1 year. The last 2 times I have been to Immigration to renew my residence-stamp they have been "pestering" me over this so I have had on my "to-do" list for some time now.
So when a friend told me he had applied and it took no longer than around 20 minutes I had to try myself and see if this was really true!
It turns out that Registrar General (who handles these issues) have opened satellite offices here and there in Harare, one of these being a small cabin behind the City of Harare offices in Mount Pleasant. Very few seem to have realised this option. I went there with 2 copies of residence permit, 2 copies of passport "photo page" and Z$ 5000. It took like 15 minutes to fill in the form, get a receipt, do my fingerprints (yep) and take photos (they do this).
And now I have an id-number! In about 3 weeks I should get my "paper-id". After that one is supposed to get a metal-id (virtually indestructible) but how long that might take is a completely different story altogether...