The opposition Heritage party has commended the government for respecting former president Rupiah Banda’s constitutional right to a passport.
Party leader Godfrey Miyanda said in a statement to the Daily Nation yesterday that the current Constitution guaranteed citizens freedom of movement both within and outside the borders of Zambia.
Miyanda observed that without a passport, a citizen was denied this right to travel outside Zambia and is essentially detained within the borders of the country.
He said this after President Sata personally instructed that Banda be issued with a new passport to enable him travel for medical treatment after his old one was cancelled by the Ministry of Home Affairs in unexplained circumstances.
Miyanda said that those that had never experienced government harassment may not appreciate the significance of the President’s surprising but good gesture.
The opposition leader explained that he at one time went through the same harassment under the leadership of President Kenneth Kaunda and had hoped to be the one to change this sordid but vindictive behaviour by people that were entrust with responsibility for our well-being.
“But now that President Sata seems to be turning into a new leaf he must be encouraged and assisted, if possible. Whatever motives President Sata had to do what he has done should not be an issue, we need to encourage him to do even more.
I praise God for this apparent change of heart and style. Even though contradictory signals have been transmitted by the President’s action we must all support the action and hope that this is the harbinger of a change which will lead to a better coordinated policy direction,” he said.