THE withdrawal of the diplomatic passport from United Party for National Development (UPND) vice-president for administration Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba was correct because Mr. Mwamba was stripped of his position as Kasama Central Member of Parliament by the Speaker, a decision that has not been reversed or stayed the Government has said.
But Mr Mwamba, popularly known as GBM is still insisting that he is still Patriotic Front (PF) Kasama Central member of Parliament and was therefore entitled to a diplomatic passport.
Home Affairs Minister Davis Mwila told a media briefing yesterday that Government had withdrawn Mr Mwamba’s diplomatic passport under the Passport Act number 22 of 2003 because he was no longer an MP to continue enjoying the privilege of holding a diplomatic passport.
Mr Mwila said Mr Mwamba ceased to be Minister when he resigned and that his claims that he was still an MP were misplaced because his seat was declared vacant by the Speaker of the National Assembly and that the UPND vice-president had not challenged the decision of the Speaker.
He said Mr Mwamba’s passport was withdrawn by the Immigration Officers at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport when the former Kasama law maker attempted to leave the country using the passport.
Mr Mwila dispelled rumours that Mr Mwamba had been arrested and detained and that the former Kasama MP was free to apply for an ordinary passport that would enable him undertake his foreign trips.
He said Government was ready to issue Mr Mwamba an ordinary passport like any other citizen.
But Mr Mwamba yesterday said Government had never categorically asked him to surrender his diplomatic passport and that the action by the Immigration officers was only meant to embarrass him and his family which was scheduled to travel to Zimbabwe.
Mr Mwamba said it was common knowledge that the matter of his Kasama seat was a subject of the courts of law and that until the matter was disposed of, he would remain an MP under the PF.
However Government has stated that the decision of the speaker was final, until another authority reversed it. Mr. Mwamba has insisted that he was accorded a diplomatic passport when he became Kasama Central MP when the PF was in the opposition and that it was therefore incorrect for Government to assume that he was given the diplomatic passport after he was appointed Minister of Defence.
Mr Mwamba said the incidence at the KKIA was meant to politically humiliate him because the immigration officers who withdrew his diplomatic passport allegedly informed him that they had received orders from their superiors.