Can you believe that in a country such as Mozambique the percentage of people living without identity card is bordering the 70% of the total population? It has been like this for years and years, despite the fact that authorities know that there is a Mozambican company in position of supplying 10.000 daily identity cards using the latest technologies and without further costs for the weak state budget.
“How is such situation possible?” you may ask and I’ll try to give you the answer. Take for instance my guarda George. He is born and raised Mozambican. He is from Chókwè region and lives in Maputo working for us. I’m sure he never knew and never will know other country except for this one. Nevertheless, he doesn’t have an identity card and he feels bad with that situation. When I ask him why he doesn’t have the BI (bilhete de identidade = identity card), he raises a lot of problems but they all resume to the money he has to pay for something that takes months or years to be ready and most of the time it’s only possible to get due to the “kind help” of some greedy officer.
The situation of millions like George is far more scandalous when you know that any Nigerian, Rwandese or South African can buy an identity card, live and prosper in Mozambique without major trouble. The simple truth is that identity cards and similar issued documents are an important source of income to dishonest government officers.
Having explained that, you can understand how Mozambicans don’t have identity cards and a company trying to solve a known problem, open and frequently discussed on the local media, is not finding the expected receptivity and even has to face threats.
What is the company offering? 1) Quantity of cards at low costs = satisfaction for Mozambican people. 2) Secure systems for controlling fakes and dishonesty.
Maybe in certains circles this kind of technology is worse than subversion. As you may have already guessed, there are also troubled waters under Seabell’s blue sky.