The Government Assurance Committee of Parliament has asked the Ministry of Internal Affairs to furnish Parliament with a list of 699 Ugandans holding diplomatic passports.
The committee’s probe follows concerns of Ugandans holding diplomatic and official passports obtained through irregular channels.
According to the Committee chairperson Betty Nambooze, several Ugandans not designated to hold the diplomatic passports pose the red passports. She cited local government councillors and ordinary citizens.
The committee was on Tuesday meeting officials led by the Minister of Internal Affairs Gen Kahinda Otafire who were appearing before the committee to answer queries on assurances raised on the floor of Parliament.
According to Immigration, Diplomatic passports are possessed by individuals protected by diplomatic immunity like Ministers and official passports which are green in colour are held by high ranking Government officials, while the black and blue passports are held by ordinary citizens.
Nambooze also questioned if individuals who get the special passports return them when the assignments are done. However, Otafire said it is a matter of courtesy to let the person retain the passport.
Otafire said the diplomatic passport is issued for the protection of people who enjoy diplomatic status like Ministers, senior religious leaders, Members of the Diplomatic service, senior judicial officers among others.
Joseph Ssewungu, the Vice-Chairperson of the committee and Kalungu West MP tasked the Ministry of Internal Affairs to avail a list of all Ugandans holding the diplomatic passports in 7 days. He says some people are misusing the passports and the committee should establish which individuals are holding these passports.
The committee also tasked the Ministry with non-Ugandans holding Ugandan Passports. Immigration stated that several persons have been arrested for this especially West Africans.
The MPs also asked the officials why the Government has not set up a separate passport processing office for labour export companies to reduce the congestion and chaos at the immigration.
However, Otafire told the MPs that Labour export companies will no longer process passports for migrant workers