Use of one ‘African passport’ will encourage crime – Sata

From Maureen Shikuboni in Addis Ababa

President Michael Sata has said Zambia will not support calls for all African countries to use one passport for Africans to move freely around the continent and to enter other continents.

President Sata said the issue of African countries using one passport will promote crime and other vices on the continent. He said Africa has the highest rate of crime in the world and using one passport will only make the movement for criminals easy.

He said this today, May 24, 2013 during an Inter-generational Dialogue for Children and Youths Assembly at the United Economic Commission of Africa Headquarters (UNECA) in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

Mr. Sata was responding to a proposal by a youth from West Africa to the African Union that the continental body should revisit its proposal for the continent to use one passport.

The President noted that the African Union was a loose alliance while Zambia was a sovereign state that makes its own laws.

“AU has no control over Zambia. Zambia makes its own laws,” he said.

The agenda to have a single passport was proposed by late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi during the AU summit of 2009, where he envisaged a single military force, a single currency and a single African passport for Africans to move freely around the continent.

And President Sata said the Zambian government has attached great importance to the issues of the girl child development.

He said Zambia has excelled in its endeavour to promote the rights of women and girl children by employing more women in key positions and creating more universities for women to have access to higher education.

He also said First Lady Christine Kaseba has launched a campaign to fight early marriages and cervical cancer in Zambia.

Speaking earlier, Zambia’s first President Kenneth Kaunda said the African continent was ravaged with problems of poverty, hunger, disease, crime, corruption and exploitation of man by man.

Dr. Kaunda said these problems can only be overcome by accepting God’s commandments of ‘loving your neighbor as you love yourself’.

He said it was important for young people to understand the importance of unity based on God’s commandments.

He also said women were important hence the need to protect and empower them.

Dr. Kaunda is tomorrow expected to be honoured by the African Union for his contribution to the liberation of southern Africa. The ceremony will take place at the Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa during the AU golden jubilee celebrations.

And African Union Commission Chairperson Dlamini Zuma called on youths to get involved in the democratic dispensation of their countries in order to be part of the future.

Dr. Zuma said it was important to give equal opportunities to all children while governments should put in policies for the girl children to realize their full potential.

The meeting was attended by Ethiopian Prime minister, Hailemariam Desaiegn, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenneyata and Liberian President Ellen Johnston Sirleaf among other leaders.

ZANIS