By Kidega Livingstone
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has announced restrictions on issuing Diplomatic Passports to government officials.
Speaking during the launch of new machines for production of Nationality Cards and Passports, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Deng Dau Deng said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has serious concerns about issuing Diplomatic Passports to appointed officials in the government because everybody tends to be a diplomat even when their terms of office have expired.
“Today I want to communicate this officially that anybody who has been issued a diplomatic passport and your term of office is over, return it back to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is becoming a big problem because the minister who was appointed in 2011 have the same passport and another one appointed and another Minister is appointed,” Deng said.
“Our country is surprised that everybody is a diplomat. Everybody wants to get Diplomatic Passport. There are responsibilities attached to Diplomatic Passport, special passport and official passports,” he added.
The deputy foreign minister said that when terms of some government officials expired, they keep using the same passport even when they were no longer government officials.
“You will find that four former ministers are using the same title of a ministry in their passports. The same thing with governors and advisors so I am asking the people of South Sudan let us be law abiding citizens,” said Deng.
He added that there was need to review the regulations governing issuance of passport to define categories of people.
“In our country everybody is a General and everybody wants to be honorable. Even those in Payam levels want to be honorable, so we must define who is supposed to get what because passport is a security issue,” Deng added.
He revealed that the government of South Sudan has been criticized for not doing enough in regards to managing passports.
He said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in line with the Ministry of Interior will work closely to reorganize issuance of passports.
“We want to tell the world that South Sudan has woken up,” Deng said.
The Minister of Interior, Michael Chiengjiek directed the immigration officers that any government officials who would want to renew or be issued a passport should produce letter of approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“We in the Ministry of Interior don’t approve diplomatic passport. Even those who are coming for renewal of passport should come with official letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” said minister Chiengjiek.