Malawi government changes former leader’s passport
Monday, 30 January 2006,
By Frank Jomo
Blantyre, January 30 (AND)-The Malawi government has changed the status of
passports for Malawi former leader Bakili Muluzi and his wife Shanil who
until now were still traveling as president and first lady.
The government has changed their occupations to businessman and business lady. The Immigration department says the two were supposed to surrender their passports immediately after handing over the presidential robe to President Bingu wa Mutharika but never did that.
“Muluzi and his wife never surrendered their passports for changes in their occupations. So, we called for the passports before they left for United Kingdom (where Muluzi has gone for medical treatment). At first Muluzi was not cooperative but we warned him to comply or face embarrassment at the airport,” an official from the department told Malawi News.
“We have one President and one First Lady in the country. That is Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika and Madam Ethel Mutharika. It is wrong for Muluzi and his wife to continue traveling as president and first lady,” said the source.
There has been bad blood flowing between former president Muluzi and his successor Mutharika. Muluzi has been accusing Muthatrika of victimizing him and whatever the current president does to Muluzi is viewed with an eagle’s eye.
However Malawi’s Immigration Public relations officer Bryson Bendala says there is nothing sinister in his department asking for the passport from Muluzi saying he together with his wife were required to honorably surrender their passport after leaving office.
“When a person has no chances of using a passport, he is supposed to surrender it to us. We expected Muluzi and his wife to honorably surrender their passports, which they never did and continued enjoying presidential privileges,” said Bendala.
The privileges of using diplomatic passport with presidential occupation include red carpet treatment, no payment of customs duties and no payment for visas in countries which requires visas.
- Story by African News Dimension