Ministry of Internal Affairs has said it is still stuck with over 30,000 passports which remain uncollected by owners and has threatened to destroy some of them.
Addressing journalists on Monday, the ministry spokesperson, Simon Mundeyi said there are passports which have remained unclaimed for periods longer than one year, noting that soon, these will be burnt if not collected by owners.
“We request members of the public who applied for passports, paid, scheduled appointments and their passports made to come and pick them. We now have about 30,000 passports in our stores in Kyambogo which have not been claimed by owners,”Mundeyi said.
“The ministry is therefore planning to destroy passports which have taken a year in store because we don’t have where to keep them.”
Mundeyi explained that efforts by the ministry to advertise in the newspapers by indicating names of owners to pick their passports have not yielded fruit, noting that soon many of these which have taken a year or so in their stores will be destroyed.
The ministry spokesperson however attributed this state of affairs to some applicants who put wrong contacts while applying for passports and when messages notifying them to pick their documents are sent, they go to wrong numbers.
“Some people during the process of applying online made mistakes in the contacts they put. If you miss number or something, the message will go to a different person. We appeal to all Ugandans who applied for passports to come to Kyambogo to check our centre because we are soon going to destroy them.”
Mundeyi noted that after the system upgrade which also included an Automatic Finger Integrated System (AFIS), they are now producing more passport than normal in a bid to help clear the backlog of unprinted passports.
“We are now producing 3000 passports daily yet normally, we produce 2000 passports and because of this we expect numbers to be a little high at the passport collection centre in Kyambogo.”
He noted that in a period of one or two weeks, they will have cleared the backlog and printing of passports will return to normal.
“We ask applicants to bear with us for one or two weeks to clear the backlog as the printing is above normal.”
Fourth passport centre abroad
Mundeyi also revealed that the ministry has opened the fourth passport centre abroad to add onto ones already opened in Abu Dhabi, Washington and London.
“We have opened a passport centre in Pretoria, South Africa as the passport centre to serve the Ugandan diaspora community. Applicants can access all passport services at this centre as it is here in Uganda. They can schedule appoints, get enrolled, interviewed and pick their passports from there,”Mundeyi said.
He insisted Ugandans in nearby countries don’t need to send documents to their relatives back home to help them in processing of their passports as has been the case in the past.
He said others will soon be opened in Ottawa, Beijing and Copenhagen.