Masisi allays fears over Zimbabwe IDs usage at border posts

The proposed use of National Identity Documents (IDs) for travel between Botswana and Zimbabwe will not cause an influx of Zimbabwean nationals into Botswana.

This was said by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi at a media briefing at the end of the 4th Botswana-Zimbabwe Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Maun on Friday.

Dr Masisi explained that the decision to use IDs for cross border travel was premised on the longstanding resolution of SADC and the African Union (AU) to integrate, and that ‘very positive consultations’were ongoing between the two governments for implementation of the agreement. He added that the process was similar to ‘just like we did with Namibia’.

President Masisi said he and President Emmerson Mnangagwa wanted the process to succeed because it was a longstanding resolution, adding that they were not the originators of the idea, but the deliverers.

He said the nation would be informed when consultations had been completed and the testing of the integrity of the system successfully done.

He noted that travellers between the two countries would still be required to use legitimate points of entry using valid IDs. President Masisi emphasised that the use of IDs was not inviting trouble, but in fact ‘inviting goodness much more so than anything that may bother you’.

President Mnangagwa pointed out that Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa and Mozambique had a policy of integration and that the move to use IDs for cross-border travel was consistent with that policy.

Acting permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Clifford Maribe informed the media that the two heads of state exchanged views on regional, continental and international issues of mutual interest.

He said  they took stock of progress made in the implementation of joint commitments and explored new frontiers of bilateral cooperation. Mr Maribe also said they welcomed the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement on Gainful Employment of Spouses of diplomatic and consular staff, and that they noted the concerted efforts by both countries to combat cross-border crime and livestock rustling.

He further said the heads of state mandated their relevant ministries, departments and agencies to expedite facilitating secure, safe and regular migration between the two countries as well as the importance of enhanced connectivity between the two.

Mr Maribe said they further emphasised the need to promote operational efficiency at shared ports of entry, including the expeditious establishment of a one-stop border post at Plumtree/Ramokgwebana.

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