THIS letter is an appeal to those who have the power to put a stop to the rampant corruption that is strangling our economy.
I have been trying for some time to g
et a copy of my late father’s death certificate (John Martin Ronne). After many visits, letters and telephone calls to Makombe Building, I was advised that as a white person I would not get the required document and that I would be better advised to send a black person.
I tried repeatedly to contact Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede, both in writing and by phone, but I have had no reply to my letters and was never able to speak to him, as he was either away for the day, out or busy.
In desperation, I decided to do as I had been advised and sent someone. My messenger went with the required documents to prove my right to a copy of the death certificate plus the receipt showing payment. The messenger returned with the information that the document would be ready in two weeks – this was July of this year.
He went back two weeks later to collect the death certificate and was told that the “book” the information was in was lost.
I tried a number of times to get the document. My secretary, knowing the trouble I was having, said she knew a person who could help me.
A man called Wilbert came to see me and said he could help as he had a friend that worked in the office concerned. He took my receipt and the paper containing the information about the entry.
Weeks later, Wilbert contacted me by phone saying that he had obtained the document and that he required a payment of $6 million. I said he was mad and refused to pay the amount.
In September I thought I would try again. I sent my messenger back to Makombe with the required proof of who I was and $10 000 to pay for search fees. The difference this time was that I had acquired from the national archives the date of death which seemed to be the problem before.
The messenger returned without the $10 000 and no receipt, but with two cellphone numbers of a person called Leonard who works at the birth and death registration office. The name is probably false but the numbers get hold of a person who knows the set-up.
My messenger said that Leonard required $3 million for the document as he had incurred costs, and that I should call him. I called one of the numbers and the person who answered the phone said he was Leonard.
I asked why he required $3 million as I had paid the required amount. He said he thought there was a mistake and that he would call me back the next day. When he called back he asked if I could meet him in town but I told him to come to my office. He said he did not wish to meet my messenger so he would not come to the office.
I asked my associate, Matthew Ngwenya, to meet him for me. Ngwenya arranged the meeting for after work on October 21. I gave him $500 000 to pay if Leonard insisted.
When Ngwenya went to the meeting place there were two people there. After much deliberation they accepted the $500 000 on condition that Ngwenya speak to me about paying the rest. He was given the document, which contained spelling errors – and is therefore probably invalid!
I do not wish to encourage corruption, but in this situation what does one do? If you do not pay the document becomes lost.
I sincerely hope there are still some honourable people left working in government departments who would like to put an end to this sort of behaviour that gives government departments a bad reputation. The scale of corruption that exists in Zimbabwe amounts to economic sabotage. We must try and stop it.
Estelle H Ronne,