Monday, July 13, 2009

Citizen Sinclair

As noted in an earlier posting I, by mistake, became citizen of Zimbabwe a while ago. This did not bother me. Until last Friday.

I had just gotten a new passport as the old one was running out of pages (they last around a year with all my zigzaggin around Africa). Then I took the time on Friday to go to Immigration and transfer my residence permit.

An extremely bored-looking woman asked for my ID and then stated that as I was a citizen I could not have a residence permit. My protests that I was not a citizen, it was just that Registrar General had made a mistake, had no impact whatsoever - "you have to sort that out first".

So we started this morning by going back to Registrar General. Lucky I had a copy of my old paper ID and even more lucky a friend of Hellen was on duty. We explained the situation and about 10 minutes later I was no longer a citizen but an "Alien" once more. Passed Immigration and the same, equally bored, woman stamped my new passport without even checking if the old one actually had a residence permit in it.

Now if that had happened in Sweden I can only imagine the headhunt for the person responsible for the original mistake, a certain amount of forms to be filled in etc. Sometimes the rather relaxed attitude towards rules in African countries can be an advantage.
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