By Ambassador Dhano Obongo
Dec 29th, 2017(Nyamilepedia) —– One of the first usages of a passport happened about 450 B.C. when Nehemiah, an officer of King Artaxerxes in ancient Persia requested consent to travel to Juda. The king wanted Governors of the states beyond the river to provide safety for his emissary while traveling across their soils.
A trip from Constantinople to Paris by Jean Michel Carminati was covered by diplomatic Laissez faire in a passport issued July 24, 1920, by the French Consulate of Smyrna for the Consul of Persia.
Diplomatic passports are provided with strict guidelines pertaining to specific purposes of constitutional post holders or diplomatic officials. In the Republic of South Sudan (RSS), we have three types. The official passport is issued to the government official traveling for official business and for him or her alone and does not include defendants or family members. Special
passports are issued to members of parliament and the undersecretaries of the national ministries but not their dependents. A diplomatic passport is issued to the president, his vice President(s) and cabinet members including dependents minor children and not the adult children above 18 years old.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs& International Cooperation (MFA&IC) supervises issuance of passports. Authority rests in the MFA&IC for all the three types however the Ministry of Interior is to open the Directorate of Nationality, Passports&Immigration annex to MFA&IC’s head office to handle only the diplomatic passports.
The benefits of traveling on a diplomatic passport are endless including easy passage at borders, special queue at customs, baggage blessedness, safety protection, and privacy when your unique passport keeps you from harm’s way. Holders are exempted from visa fees.
Diplomats, attaches, and their accompanying dependents are immune from jurisdiction under the Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities act of 1967 and the Consular Services act of 2012.
During the united Sudan era, diplomats and officials did not pay for issuance and renewal of diplomatic passports.
However, I fear RSS has become too lenient on ourselves allowing diplomatic passports to float into the hands of normal citizens. Citizen tax payers, or the national treasury, bear the expense of issuing diplomatic passports. In most world nations the cost is issued free of charge to constitutional post holders and diplomats on authority of the country. However, as soon as he or she is relieved from the post, the passport is dropped and is not renewable.
Note well that diplomatic passport holders are the first to be targeted, taken out and shot by airline highjacks. Please, do not take it personally.
The author can be reached at email address; dhano01obongo@gmail. com