Diplomatic passport row erupts

Sat, 09 Feb 2013 15:49:30 +0000

The decision by government to repossess diplomatic passports from recalled Zambian workers in foreign missions is unfair, a clergyman in Northern Province has said.

In an interview with Daily Nation, Pastor Joseph Chishimba said he was hopeful that the withdrawals of diplomatic passports were not meant to punish the recalled diplomats.

He said although those passports were state properties and the government could withdraw them whenever they wanted, but they had to give reasons to avoid speculation.

Pastor Chishimba said the people of Zambia had a right to speculate whenever they were not clear on certain issues, adding that Home Affairs Minister Edgar Lungu must clearly explain the reason why government had decided to withdraw diplomatic passports from ex ministers and clergymen among others.

He said although it was a long process to be cleared in other countries, it was also important to explain certain issues before they were withdrawn due to the political scenario in the country.

Home affairs minister Edgar Lungu has said however that government has decided to repossess diplomatic passports from former ministers, ambassadors, clergymen and other dignitaries, because some of the clergymen were given diplomatic passports after supporting the third term campaign.

“The diplomatic passports were issued by former president Chiluba and his successors without any form of hindrance. What has happened is that a lot of people have got these passports and they have been abused.

He said he had been directed to ensure that all diplomatic passports held by those people were withdrawn.

Mr Lungu said President Sata would only spare the people he believed were fit to be issued diplomatic passports.

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