Minister of Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo says government will only accede the African Union protocol relating to the Free Movement of People after consulting all stakeholders and achieving National consensus on the issue.
According to a statement issued by Zambia’s First Secretary for Press in Ethiopia Inutu Mupango Mwamba, Kampyongo was speaking in Addis Ababa when he transited to Hongkong to attend a Security Summit.
Kampyongo said it was a constitutional requirement to subject decisions of this magnitude to national scrutiny.
He said government was hopeful that consultations on the treaty to allow for Free Movement of people would be complete before the June /July 2018 Heads of States and Government Summit in Mauritania.
The Minister said it was government’s desire to be part of the continental Agenda but was conscious of the fact that all decisions made by government must be supported by majority Zambians.
“We would like Zambians to have a say through their representatives in parliament before we can sign the treaty of Free Movement of people”, said Kampyongo.
On the Security Summit in Hongkong, Kampyongo emphasized the need for Zambia to modernize its security systems in order to conform to international standards.
He said the security institutions in the country would only be able to fight sophiscated crime through modernizing of security systems.
He noted the need to interface some security institutions with International security institutions.
On Cyber Crime, Kampyongo said his ministry had put in mechanisms to ensure social media platforms were not used to trample on people rights to privacy.
He said it was unfortunate that Zambia had in the recent past witnessed a lot of cases of cyber bulling and swindling.
The African Union during the January 2018 Summit adopted a protocol to the treaty establishing the African Economic Community relating to Free Movement of persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment after a series of Member States negotiations in different platforms.
The Free Movement Protocol allows for solidarity and integrity on Movement of people in Africa and reiterates shared values of protection of human and people’s rights to movement as provided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.
On the issuance of the African Passport, the Minister said Zambia was going to be part of meetings that had been called by the African Union to develop guidelines on specifications, Production and issuance of the African passport.
Member States would be required to adopt standardized and inclusive policies based on a continental design and specifications as outlined in Article 9 of the Protocol, which allows for each member states the right to issue Nationals a Valid African Passport to facilitate movement on the continent.
He said the issuance of the African Passport would only commerce after the guidelines on specifications are agreed upon by all member states.
“Currently, Chiefs of Immigration of African Union Member States are engaged in developing guidelines on specifications, production and issuance of the African Passport. This will enhance ownership of the African passport by Member States and promote its issuance to citizens of Africa. So Far, the African Union has issued the African Passport to all Heads of States, Foreign Affairs Ministers and Ambassadors accredited to the African Union. Mr Kampyongo who travelled with a five member delegation from the security wings was received at Bole International Airport by Zambia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia Susan Sikaneta who commended Government for the decision to consult the citizenry through their representatives in Parliament before acceding to some treaties at the African Union,” Mwanza stated.
“She said the Protocol of Free Movement of Persons was particularly sensitive and it was only correct that in a democratic dispensation like Zambia, adequate consultations were made to ensure security and sovereignty protection for the National good. Ms Sikaneta who is also Zambia’s Permanent representative to the AU disclosed that meetings were held with Member States to agree on mechanisms of how the African Passport will be issued by individual states.”