Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa who is also the Minister of Justice and leader of the House in Parliament yesterday told Members of Parliament that a diplomatic passport was not a right but a privilege.
He was responding to a question raised by Buhera South legislator Joseph Chinotimba who wanted MPs be given diplomatic passports to ease their travel abroad and also wanted to know why some legislators were given diplomatic while others were not.
Mnangagwa said he had personally asked President Robert Mugabe if MPs who attend parliamentary forums in other countries could be issued diplomatic passports but Mugabe had denied that privilege.
“I personally went to His Excellency accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The President denied that privilege. We said, well, let us let things cool down and if things cool down, there could be a chance of attaining that,” Mnangagwa told the House.
Highfield East Member of Parliament Erick Murai, however, why some legislators had diplomatic passports while others did not.
“We have had the response from the Leader of the House Hon. Mnangagwa on the issuance of diplomatic passports. What is worrying me is why were a few selected, yet as Members of Parliament we operate under the same conditions of service? I feel we should be treated equally because we are all Members of Parliament in the same Parliament,” he said.
Mnangagwa responded: “Hon. Members, let me tell you the truth on this matter and this is a fact. Whether you like it or not, it does not matter. A diplomatic passport is not a right, we should be aware of that. There is nowhere in our Constitution or wherever, where it is said a Member of Parliament should be given a diplomatic passport. It is not a right but it is a privilege.”
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