Passports no longer required for travel between Zimbabwe and Botswana

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has announced that Zimbabwe and Botswana citizens will no longer require passports to travel between the two countries.

The two countries will then begin developing modalities to facilitate the movement of people and goods between the two neighbouring countries.

This means Zimbabweans may use their national identity cards to cross the border, similar to how Namibians signed an agreement in February this year allowing their citizens to cross the Botswana border without a passport.

President Mnangagwa, who is currently in Gaborone, Botswana, revealed on Thursday that he and Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi had agreed on this development while speaking at the Fifth Kusi Ideas Festival, shaping Africa’s Agenda for 2063 that is co-hosted by the Nation Media Group of Kenya and the Government of Botswana.

“I have been talking to my brother here, after he was making a statement here and we have agreed and he can announce. We have agreed that from now on, we will instruct our officials so that there should be no question of how to enter Zimbabwe; how to enter Botswana. That should be cleared,” President Mnangagwa said.

President Mnangagwa went on to say that before colonisation, movement in Africa was easy because there were no borders, and that African countries should return to that arrangement because the people were one. 

“The two of us have agreed, realising that because we are African. We should be able to walk into Botswana, walk into Zambia, walk into Kenya. We have just agreed, when we were sitting there that my brother, why do we restrict ourselves?” said the president.

“Somebody said in the past, when we were all together then, the global North made boundaries where a farm’s kitchen bedroom became on the other side of the border, the bedroom was on the  other side of the border. So why should we continue to respect this? Let us open borders among ourselves and move freely.” 

In February this year, President Masisi and Namibian President Hage Geingob, signed an agreement allowing their citizens to easily cross the border without a passport.

The two leaders launched the passport-free travel arrangement at the Mamuno Border Crossing which meant both Namibian and Botswana citizens would only be required to produce their identity cards at crossing points.

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