Dear Mr Kampyongo,
I am writing this letter to you on behalf of my Father, a Zambian citizen residing in Nairobi, Kenya. My father applied to have his passport renewed from the Zambian High Commission in Nairobi on 02 November 2018, his current passport at the time was set to expire in December 2018. The high commission took his application and issued a receipt for the same, by January 2019 he had still not received his new passport and I was forced to travel to Zambia from South Africa to follow up on the same passport.
I went to the Passport head office in Lusaka town and was attended to by a gentleman in room 7 who assured me that the passport had been processed and would arrive via diplomatic bag in Nairobi in 2-3 weeks. I relayed the message to Nairobi and left. Fast forward to the end of February 2019, the passport had still not arrived, my mother also travelled from Nairobi to Lusaka in March, to follow up on this now elusive passport, however this time the story changed “The pictures accompanying his application were not clear enough, therefore the passport had not been processed and he would need to resubmit new pictures.”
How possible is that after the embassy had received, reviewed and approved the same application? Are they not conversant with the requirements? Did the requirements change when the passport was in transit? Oh well let us not argue, he went on to submit new photos and a new application on 17th April accompanied with an Embassy letter referring to the receipt issued on November 2018.
We are now heading into July and my father, a senior Zambian citizen of 70 years still has no passport and is basically stranded without papers in a foreign country. He required surgery last month which he could not get because he had no legal form of identification acceptable in a Kenyan hospital. This month his brother died and he could not travel to Zambia to bury him because the Ministry of home affairs and Zambian high commission have rendered him an undocumented migrant.
The high commission in Kenya currently sits without a high commissioner or a deputy and as a result the majority of staff at this foreign representation office with the mandate to serve Zambians living in Kenya are unable to help him or provide adequate answers. This old man goes to the High Commissio everyday in search of his passport. As if he is begging for something he is not entitled to.
Is it not every Zambian citizen’s right to have a passport? Or is it now a privilege for Zambians living in diaspora to be documented or to have access to a Zambian passport? Should a 70 year old man have to beg for a passport in addition to paying the prescribed fees?
I am writing to you because we have reached our wits end with this matter and clearly your Ministry of Home Affairs, specifically the department of immigration is failing and they have failed my father. Perhaps it would have been easier for him to walk from Kenya, through Tanzania to Zambia to apply for this privileged document that affords him the dignity of being a human being in a foreign country.
A concerned daughter/dejected citizen