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Members of Parliament want diplomatic passports to enable them to efficiently carry out their duties when outside the country on official business. Diplomatic passports are issued to officials who travel internationally on State business. The demand came up during a Zanu-PF caucus meeting in Harare last week where the party’s MPs also said Parliament must buy them fuel from Government dealers and not from the private sector.

In the past, MPs used to get fuel at CMED depots. Government and Zanu-PF Chief Whip Cde Joram Gumbo confirmed the requests. “MPs raised concern that it was only Zimbabwean legislators in the whole of Africa who don’t have diplomatic passports,” said Cde Gumbo.

“They requested that the Minister of Foreign Affairs facilitates diplomatic passports, so that when they travel out of the country on official business, they may do so efficiently without facing challenges.

“I told them that the Standing Rules and Orders Committee was already seized with the matter. The request has already been forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.” It is not the first time that legislators have requested diplomatic passports. Representatives from both Zanu-PF and MDC-T made a similar request during the inclusive Government.

Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Ambassador Joey Bimha last year told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs that President Mugabe had already approved a list of all diplomatic passport beneficiaries which, however, did not include legislators.

He implored the legislators to make a formal request that the ministry could forward to the President.

Cde Gumbo said MPs also urged Parliament to buy fuel for legislators from Petrotrade, a Government company.

“Their argument was that why are we buying fuel from private dealers when we have a Government company that is struggling?” he said.

“They requested that we buy fuel from Petrotrade though others raised concerns that it did not have service stations throughout the country. But there were suggestions that the company could get into an arrangement with dealers who have the widest coverage, of which CMED could be viable.

“But this one is not difficult to implement. I will just forward the request to Parliament administration headed by the Speaker to see how this can be addressed.”

Source : The Herald