Press Release; East Africa Countries Frustrating the Common Market Protocol
The decision by the Kenya Government to introduce work permit requirements for all foreigners from East Africa Community countries and outside the region as well as issue deterrent legal measures to those found engaging aliens without requisite documents is a huge blow to the region’s integration process particularly to the Common Market Protocol.
This decision clearly attests to some people in government who are still living in the past because world over, countries are now moving towards Economic, Social and Political Integration and this has been realized in many regional blocks like European Union, EU, the Schengen countries under the EU, in the USA, Southern African Development Community, SADC that bring together countries in the Southern part of Africa as well as Association of Southeast Asia Nations, ASEAN and all these regional blocks remain fully integrated since this is where the whole world is going.
For Kenya to realize the elusive economic boom from both external direct and indirect investment, we must promote our sub-regional trade by opening up our borders and allowing our nationals to use their National Identification cards as travel documents and proceed to Internationalize the East African Passports to replace our National Passport and in this way our politicians will be pushed to behave but as long as we still rely on them to be the sole drivers of the integration process in the region and the deciding authority, then we are doomed.
Equally,if these politicians have their own personal differences owing to their individual interests and egoism which do not conform with the need and aspirations of the people of East Africa, it shouldn’t drive our nation into slamming Visas to Tanzanians who are entering Kenya or vice versa because most of these movements are for business purposes.
For instance, the Namanga border which brings into Kenya nearly Ksh. 100M per day through cross border movement of consumable goods including newspapers to Arusha from Nairobi on a daily basis, motor-vehicle spare parts, food items, textile and related material as well as hotel accommodation and medical supplies, including medicine being the few but part of the cross-border essential commodities supplied to Tanzania cannot afford any such restrictions because such a move will affect our economy.
Hence somebody planning to put conditionalities to any Tanzanian entering Kenya should be viewed as the most uncouth, a person ignorant of our economic plight and not conversant with relevant policies and requirements.
Kenyans are interested in a leadership that can create jobs but not with repugnant individuals looking at an individual in the name of John Pombe Magufuli of Tanzania and forgetting the larger part of our gains in the whole exercise.
COTU (K) now appeals to His Excellency the President Uhuru Kenyatta to personally intervene and revert to our previous existing walk-in walk- out-at-will mode of existence with our counterparts in Tanzania.