MEMBERS of Parliament from across the political divide yesterday called on the government to lobby other African countries to introduce a single e-passport for the continent.
The issue came out during debate on a motion moved by Chirumanzu-Zibagwe MP, Auxillia Mnangagwa (Zanu PF) on a report on the role of the Pan African Parliament in promoting the free movement of people across the continent.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Mnangagwa said the African Union had also set a target to phase out visa requirements and adopt a single African passport by 2053 to promote integration.
“An e-passport will provide border control authorities with assurance that the passports are authentic and unaltered,” she said. “Development of a biometric passport will be significant towards development of an e-passport that will ease border crossings, and it will be more difficult for smugglers and human traffickers to operate.”
Mnangagwa said it is imperative for African States to agree to implement the e-passport and pass the necessary legislation to support it.
Countries such as Angola, Kenya, Namibia, Seychelles, Tanzania, Mozambique and several others are already considering the African e-passport.
Seconder of the motion, Tapiwa Mashakada (MDC-T) said an African passport will promote ease of doing business, solve issues of migrants without documentation and the refugee crisis, as well as assist cross border traders in their activities.
“Africa is losing investors because it is difficult to get visas,” he said.
“The Pan African Parliament has made a resolution that Africa must be one borderless place to improve economic re-integration.”
Norton MP, Temba Mliswa (independent) said before considering ambitious projects like African passports, countries must ensure all their nationals have identity cards.
Buhera West MP, Joseph Chinotimba (Zanu PF) said African countries must be very careful when considering the African e-passports to ensure that they do not give free passage to terrorist groups.