This week we learnt with shock that the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs is experiencing congestion at Omang offices across the country.
The ministry stated that the congestion is caused by the fact that Omang, which started in 1988, is valid for 10 years and is renewed every other 10th year, therefore Omang cards for all people who did their identity cards that year need renewing.
The office said it experiences congestion at the end of each year ending with an ‘8’.
It further painted a bad picture that as at February 1, 2018, there were 212,972 cards expected to expire in 2018 while there were 42,424 young adults who will be turning 16 by December 31, 2018, therefore qualifying for a national identity card.
However, it is surprising that while the ministry has known all this and the cause of the congestion thereto, they seem not to have come up with solutions to mitigate against the problem.
Rather than simply saying there will be a crisis, they should look at changing the policy.
Only a policy change would help the ministry deal with the current crisis for good. If they managed to identify a problem they should find a solution to it.
For example, government should say those who are turning 16 years this year, should renew after 10 years.
Those at 40 should renew at 55 years and then from 55 they renew at 70 years. After renewal at 70 years,
This would mean, the age groups born in the years ending with an ‘8’ would not have to renew at the same period or time.
The validity period of the national identity cards also needs to be reviewed from 10 to 20 years. This would save government lots of money, as the frequency would not be higher. Government is creating more problems for itself by failing to come up with lasting solutions.
The ministry goes further to say that it is doing all within its means to ensure that Batswana are facilitated with getting their national identity cards timeously and courteously.
It also says it would assemble mobile teams to assist.
However, this is not a proper solution because it would cost government more resources. It is known that this is not the only period when the Omang offices experience congestion, but the current numbers are alarming. This shows the need to exploit long-lasting solutions.
Governments all over the world are good at finding problems but are poor at identifying creative solutions. To get to the solution, this is the one time that one must look over the fence to get rid of the problem.
“Creativity is the answer. I always prefer the creative solution to an expensive solution.”
– Keenen Ivory Wayans