Diplomatic Passports for African MPs

Diplomatic African Union (AU) passports will soon be provided to members of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) to facilitate their international travels. PAP will also provide free medical cover to all its members.

PAP President Bethel Amadi announced the decision yesterday morning during the second day of the Fourth Ordinary Session of the Third Pan-African Parliament when presenting an activity report of PAP for the period October 2013 to March 2014.

PAP members have complained they encounter countless difficulties when travelling on official missions that include delays at airports.

“This was taken up with the African Union Commission deputy chairperson and it was agreed in principle that a provision could be made in the operational budget of the Pan-African Parliament to cover the cost of their [passports] production,” elaborated Amadi.

“As diplomats we are entitled to diplomatic passports so that we can be treated with the dignity that parliamentarians deserve,” added Amadi.

The AU launched the introduction of African Union diplomatic passports in 2007 to ensure freedom of movement throughout the continent. The passport is a response to a demand by Africans for an easing of restrictions on travel within Africa by African governments as a pre-condition for African citizenship.

The passport is currently used by heads of state of member countries, officials of the AU Secretariat, renowned personalities from the continent and diaspora.

Meanwhile, PAP entered into a partnership with Discovery Health to provide free medical cover for all members of PAP.

“Out of the 116 membership applications that were submitted to Discovery Health regarding medical cover for Pan-African Parliament members, 87 have been registered with the Discovery Health Medical Scheme,” said Amadi. He said the remaining 29 applications are still pending due to incomplete information provided by the respective candidates at the time of submitting.

Swapo Party chief whip Professor Peter Katjavivi, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and Swapo MP Loide Kasingo, Nudo MP Arnold Tjihuiko, Swapo MP Evelyn Nawases-Taeyele and National Council Swapo Party MP Bernhard Sibalatani are the five members serving on the Pan-African Parliament. All five are attending the PAP session that concludes today.

Source : New Era