Jacob Siminyu, the Ministry of Internal Affairs spokesperson explains that an MP acquires an official passport only when he or she is still a serving legislator. The same applies to ministers with Diplomatic passports that are only valid as long as they are still in the cabinet.
Directorate of Citizens and Immigration Control has asked former Ministers and
Members of Parliament to return the official and diplomatic passports. Without
revealing names, Jacob Siminyu, the Ministry of Internal Affairs spokesperson,
said several former ministers and MPs are illegally holding diplomatic and
official passports yet they lost such statuses.
Siminyu explains that an MP acquires an official passport only when he or she
is still a serving legislator. The same applies to ministers with Diplomatic
passports that are only valid as long as they are still in the cabinet.
“Official and diplomatic passports are acquired because of the status you are
currently holding. They are given to you because of the status. If you are a
minister you get diplomatic and MPs get an official passport. If you lose the
Commissioner status you get the ordinary. You are instructed to return and get
the one that matches your ordinary status,” Siminyu explains.
Siminyu explains that a number of former MPs, ministers, retired commissioners,
ex-Permanent Secretaries, Directors raise flimsy excuses whenever they are
reminded to return the ‘VIP’ passports.
At least 38 ministers were dropped in the new cabinet in June last year. In
addition, more than 200 MPs lost their seats in the January 14 parliamentary
elections. It is reported that former ministers and MPs from the ninth and 10th
parliament are still holding VIP passports and often come up with excuses when
renewing their expired travel documents.
The MPs’ passport is green in color while Ministers and Ambassadors as well as
their family members get diplomatic passports. But once one loses such a title,
he or she must get an ordinary passport which is blue in colour.
“Do not attempt to explain when you lose the status. Please return these
passports. It is not your personal document. It is a government document given
to you for the status you have and you must not keep it once you have lost that
status,” Siminyu adds.
Ex-ministers and MPs who have adamantly refused to return Diplomatic and
Official passports risk being embarrassed as they might be forcefully removed
from them. DCIC advises such people to voluntarily return such passports.
Joseph Kato is currently a Master's candidate at Makerere University. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communication from Kampala International University, a Diploma in Journalism and he's also a graduate in Guidance and Counseling.