Farirai Machivenyika, Harare Bureau
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has given the nod for Parliamentarians to be issued with diplomatic passports following years of lobbying from the legislators.
The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Makonde legislator Cde Kindness Paradza made the announcement of the President’s approval in the National Assembly yesterday.
The decision by the President follows a request by legislators on several occasions in past parliamentary sessions for them to be issued with the document.
“I want to thank His Excellency the President on behalf of all the 350 parliamentarians that for the first time since our Independence, honourable members are going to have diplomatic passports,” said Cde Paradza. “Having a diplomatic passport is a privilege and not a right and I want to thank His Excellency for extending this privilege to MPs. The passports are going to be issued starting next week.”
Cde Paradza warned parliamentarians against abusing the document.
“It was only this Parliament in the region and the world over that the MPs did not have diplomatic passports,” he said. “Those who will abuse these passports will have them withdrawn.”
Diplomatic passports allow holders to enjoy various advantages that include easy passage at borders, special lines at customs, tax exemptions, travel upgrades on airlines and hotels, free visas to any country and in some cases, visa free travel.