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I Will Tell The Big Six – Six Months And Counting… Acquiring A Passport In Ghana   
 
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15-Dec-2014  
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I will like to apologize for my inability to write to you in the last week or two. Man must sometimes take a break to reflect on life and the direction we want to go after every turn.

I have been having a mental battle as to whether to write to you about this or not since it looks to me like a lost course.

However, like a friend once told me, “sometimes hoping seems idiotic, but if we hope long enough, we may just prevail”. So it is out of the hope that this article will catch someone’s attention and some action taken to resolve it.

About half a decade ago or more, there was talk about restructuring at the passport office to quicken the process of obtaining a passport in Ghana. There were advertisements to that effect; stating that an express passport may take up to two week for a fee of GHC 100.00 and the normal will take up to a month for a fee of GHC 50.00. it was on the back drop of this that six months ago after purchasing passport forms from the bank for a fee of GHC 100.00, I decided to ignore the advice of some friends and relatives to pay money to a “MIDDLE MAN’ to process the passport for me. I walked gleefully to the passport office, and went through a lengthy and hectic process to submit the forms which began around 8:00am and I finally completed the process around 1:00pm.

I must say I was quite irritated by the sheer amount of time it took to submit just these forms and get my biometric data captured, especially as I am a registered voter and I expect the government to already have my biometric data. Also I am registered with the National Identification Authority although I am yet to receive my ID card after so many years.

For the love of my country and God, I didn’t complain once in all my anger and frustration. I left the premises peacefully at 1:00pm and the receipt I was given indicated I was to come back for my passport in 10 days. After 10 days, I went only to be told to return in August, in August, I went back I was told to come in September, in September, I was told to come back in October, in October, I was told to come back in November and in November I was told to come back in December. I am yet to go though, as I am feeling emotional, mentally and physically exhausted to even go and check if they have finally finished with my passport.

I never understood why people paid bribes to ‘middle men/women’ for their passport to be processed as I assumed it was a straight forward process and if we factor in our Ghanaian attitude, I assumed it will take maximum a month or at worst two for a passport which should take two weeks. I have heard people claim that they can process passport for others in less than a week and indeed others have testified to the genuineness of these claims. I therefore fail to understand by what logic a passport should take as long as six months to be processed when you decide to use the genuine process.

I come to just one conclusion therefore. Because of the insatiable greed of the staff at the passport office or some of them if I am being charitable, deliberately choose to ignore those who bring their passports through the appropriate channel and rather take care of the ones who are willing to pay bribes. This level of wickedness cannot be entertained and should not be entertained in this country if we want to move forward.

I usually tend to blame incompetence and laziness each time I hear stories like these, but after experiencing it myself and hearing other peoples account of how fast they got their passports when they paid bribes, I can only conclude that some of our own citizens are wicked beyond measure. I dare say that these people are capable of murder as someone who may urgently need a passport for medical reasons may be frustrated and in the process lose their lives. These are some of the untold stories of some Ghanaians and if someone really wanted to investigate this issue in fine detail, we will realize that the state is actually spending millions paying “murderers” and “vampires” as staff of the passport office.

This issue raises questions of our level of seriousness as a country in general, because this is only what I have witnessed firsthand and experienced. There are possibly several untold stories of other Ghanaians seeking other services from government agencies, departments and ministries which are even more frustrating.

HOW CAN WE DO THIS TO OURSELVES? IS THE QUESTION I KEEP ASKING MYSELF AS I WRITE THIS PIECE.

If any from that office reads this let them know one thing, WE OUR OWN ENEMIES IN THIS COUNTRY, AND IF WE WANT TO SEE CHANGE IN THIS COUNTRY, AND THAT CHANGE MUST START FROM EACH ONE OF US.

Ghana needs our efforts, our selflessness and determination coupled with hard work to attain the heights we all hope to reach. Let me end here.

Until I write to you again, good bye for now.
YOUR GRANDSON.
ALBERT OPARE.
 
 
Source: ALBERT OPARE
 
 

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