Parliament has summoned the Ministry of Internal Affairs to explain why the Ministry has continued to issue the East African electronic passports despite Parliament having sought clarification on the matter before the issuance can takes effect.
During plenary on Thursday, Kampala Central MP, Muhammad Nsereko raised a matter of national importance demanding to know why the Ministry didn’t not comply with the decision that was taken by Parliament in December last year.
“Any order issued by the Chair except an appeal shall be taken to be final, you wisely ruled in December instructing the Ministry of Internal Affairs not to go ahead to issue the new passports until a clear explanations are given to certain facts, but they [Ministry] have gone ahead to do so,” Nsereko said.
Nsereko also raised concern on the new charges levied on passports by the Ministry which hiked the ordinary passport from Shs150,000 to the current fee of Shs 250,000 for the new East Africa e-passports.
The legislator noted that Ugandans have a right to understand how new policies should be passed by government through their representatives adding that it is critical that Parliament checks such excesses by government.
“The Ministry was tasked to explain why the cost is at that, how the people in the diaspora are catered for because now over 400 people are at stake in Dubai. They can’t get new passports because their passports already expired or were lost, these people can’t be allowed to travel,” Nsereko said.
Ngora County Woman MP, Jacquiline Amongin asked that government offers explanation on the likely challenges that Ugandans are likely to face by holding the East African passports.
Amongin said that she was recently shocked together with other members of the Pan African Parliament who were barred from traveling to Dubai simply because they owned African Union passports that were not recognized.
“As holders of African Union Passports, when we reached Dubai, we were kept there for two weeks because they said the passport was not internationally recognized. How about now acquiring East African passport?” Amongin asked.
In his submission to the House, the Attorney General, William Byaruhanga said that his office has already advised the Ministry of Internal Affairs on the legal implications of having those new passports and asked Parliament to wait for his detailed statement.
The Speaker thus ruled to direct the Minister of Internal Affairs to table a statement before the House on Tuesday next week.