HARARE – Members of Parliament have demanded diplomatic passports from government, ostensibly because the special travel document would enhance their status as honourable members.
The MPs said the issuance of the diplomatic passports would enable them to carry out their duties more efficiently when travelling outside the country on Parliament business.
Gift Chimanikire, an MDC MP, tabled the request yesterday during an induction workshop in Harare, saying in the event that government failed to provide them with passports, they were going to introduce a motion in the National Assembly.
“It is standard practice worldwide that MPs are given diplomatic passports, that equivalent to their status in the society,” Chimanikire said.
“I approached the Foreign Affairs minister in the last Parliament session as chairman of the welfare committee and he told me that they are too many MPs and the government cannot cater for everyone.
“But we feel that we need to revisit the matter again so that we can get diplomatic passports similar to what is happening to our other colleagues in the Sadc region.
“The image and our status as MPS are not being recognised, we must be assisted with diplomatic passports.
As I travelled to South Africa on Parliament business, I was treated like a criminal despite producing my ID card. Something must be done to equal our social standing."
Anthony Malunga, principal director for human resources and administration of Parliament, agreed to take up the matter with presiding officers and help the MPs to secure the diplomatic passports.
MPs have made several demands to government including twin cab vehicles, a salary of at least $3 000 and sitting allowances.
The MPs have also approached the Harare City Council for residential stands in the low density areas.