WINDHOEK – The governments of Namibia and Botswana are currently in talks to allow their nationals visiting either country to use their national identity cards instead of passports.
The Botswana government announced this on its Facebook page over the weekend.
It quoted Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi while speaking at the 45th Ghanzi Agricultural Show in Ghanzi, Botswana on Saturday. President Hage Geingob officiated at the show.
Masisi said him and Geingob have in principle agreed on the matter and await the bureaucracies of the two countries to formalize the arrangement.
“It was so easy for us to agree that in the not so distant future, we are going to eliminate the need for passports for the citizens of Namibia coming to Botswana and Batswana going to Namibia. All you will need to present, is a valid national identity card then you can traverse across,” Masisi said.
Masisi also used the opportunity to applaud Geingob Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP), adding that Botswana would learn a lot and benefit from it.
Officiating the event, Geingob outlined the significance of the historic and deep-rooted bond between the people of Botswana and Namibia.
“We are not just neighbours – but are bound by blood, making us brothers and sisters in the Southern African House in particular and the larger African House in general,” Geingob said.
He said during one of the darkest periods under German colonial oppression, Namibians under the leadership of Chief Samuel Maharero fled their country and were warmly received by the citizens of this beautiful land.
“Many of them reside until today in Botswana. After the end of German colonialism and the subsequent illegal occupation of Namibia by apartheid South Africa, Botswana, became a place of refuge for Namibian people,” he said.
Botswana, he said, was often the first point of entry for many Namibians, including himself.
He said this is because of this long history of friendship and generosity that he accepted the kind invitation of “my brother, Masisi”, to officiate at this auspicious occasion - the show.
Geingob said the Ghanzi Show started small, but overtime, has established itself as a premier event. Initially, it was merely showcasing agricultural activities.
“Today, it is an inclusive economic sector spectacle, as evidenced by the various items and activities that are representative of the different sectors of Botswana’s economy,” he said.
Geingob said as a region, through the Sadc Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap, they have embarked upon a drive to leverage our abundant and diverse resources, especially in the agriculture and mining sectors, in order to accelerate industrialization through beneficiation and value addition.
“It is in this vein that we are all pleased to notice the evolution of the Ghanzi Show, which is a reflection of our keen intent to enhance our industrial base and modernize our economies,” he said.
Commenting on the President’s visit to Botswana, press secretary in the Namibian presidency Alfredo Hengari said: “For President Geingob to successfully officiate at the 45th Ghanzi Show - far from the capital Gaborone - is a clear demonstration of the commitment of the chairperson of Sadc to pursue deeper regional integration and cooperation in favour of citizens.”
He added: “In addition to the decision to allow citizens to travel with identity documents between the two countries, the presence of President Geingob as guest of honour at the Ghanzi Show sets without doubt the Namibia-Botswana on a new trajectory of ever closer cooperation.”
2019-07-30 06:29:56 20 days ago