Card hitch hampers border crossing
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.