Malawi’s Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Grace Maseko has said empowerment of district commissioners (DCs) is an important step towards consolidation of local governance and democratisation.
The minister said this during the handover ceremony of dry seals for passport forms (embossing stamps) in Mangochi recently.
Maseko said DCs are a crucial link in development; hence, the need to empower them.
“DCs also help in vetting passport applicants and these dry seals will help them discharge their duties with ease,” she said.
Maseko said the stamps will enhance transparency and accountability as only bona fide Malawians will be able to get passports.
Minister of Home Affairs Uladi Mussa agreed with Maseko that the stamps will enhance security of Malawian passports from the processing stage at the district level to issuance of the documents at Immigration Department offices.
“As a ministry, we find this arrangement to be strategic because it is like we are vaccinating an egg before a chick is hatched,” he said, adding that stringent procedures in processing in issuing passports will go a way long in enhancing the credibility of the documents.
Mussa said government is committed to ensuring that people travel with ease in and out of the country.
The minister also asked the British Government to be flexible in its visa requirements for Malawians wishing to visit the UK since Malawian passports now have watertight features which cannot be easily forged.
British High Commission head of political and public affairs, Lewis Kulisewa, said the stamps will help Malawi to manage the migration of people.
“The benefits of well managed migration are deeply rooted in British values as reflected in the openness and tolerance of the British people.
“It is no secret that migration has enriched British culture and contributed to strengthening its economy,” he said.
He said the British government will continue working with the Immigration Department in its efforts to strengthen the verification process of documents, especially passports.
Kulisewa said apart from providing the 29 embossing stamps, the British government has also trained 35 immigration officers in interviewing skills and fraud detection.
He added that DCs will use the stamps as tools to curb illegal immigration.