Card hitch ham­pers bor­der cross­ing

The East African - - NEWS - The Eastafrican

TRAV­ELLERS BE­TWEEN Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda are fac­ing a hard time cross­ing the borders due to a short­age of in­ter­state cards, en­abling East African cit­i­zens to travel to the three coun­tries us­ing their iden­tity cards.

As Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta an­nounced that East African Com­mu­nity cit­i­zens were free to en­ter Kenya us­ing their IDS, the cit­i­zens of Kenya and Uganda can­not use such doc­u­ments to en­ter Rwanda. The Eastafrican un­der­stands that Uganda and Kenya have run out of orig­i­nal in­ter­state cards — in­tro­duced in 2014 — is­sued to cit­i­zens trav­el­ling to the three coun­tries, re­sort­ing to pho­to­copies, which Rwanda does not recog­nise

“We ar­rived here on Novem­ber 25 but we can­not travel to Rwanda be­cause im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials say we can­not cross the bor­der us­ing our IDS,” Proscovia Kaahwa Ateenyi, a Ugan­dan cit­i­zen told The Eastafrican on Novem­ber 25 at the Katuna bor­der post.

Ms Ateenyi and a bus load of Catholics were on a pil­grim­age to Rwanda. They were asked to present pass­port photos and be is­sued with a tem­po­rary travel doc­u­ment cost­ing Ush10,000 ($2.7).

“This is an in­con­ve­nience we did not ex­pect. We thought our heads of states un­der the EAC ap­proved travel us­ing na­tional IDS,” said Wil­ber Mwe­sigwa who was part of the en­tourage.

How­ever, an im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cial de­nied that Rwanda was block­ing peo­ple from us­ing IDS, but said it can­not al­low en­try us­ing pho­to­copied in­ter­state cards.

“This is a travel doc­u­ment that can­not be pho­to­copied. It is sim­i­lar to say­ing that you can travel us­ing a pho­to­copy of your pass­port,” the of­fi­cial said on con­di­tion of anonymity.

Each coun­try is sup­posed to pub­lish its own cards to is­sue at bor­der points.

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