Botswana Mulls Scrapping Passport Requirement for Zimbos

  • President Masisi is looking to pitch the idea to the Zimbabwean president.
  • Masisi wants to effect these bilateral measures on countries sharing borders with Botswana.

Due to the close proximity between Zimbabwe and Botswana, citizens of both Southern Countries will soon be using national identity cards as travel verification documents, according to reports that Botswana president Mokgweetsi Masisi hinted at discarding the use of passports between both countries.

Presently, nationals from both countries require passports for cross-border travel. However, according to the media reports in Botswana, the president intends to meet with the Zimbabwean president to deliberate on the proposal to allow citizens of both countries to use national identity cards (IDs) for cross-border travel between either jurisdiction. 

President Masisi reportedly promised democratic attendees at the Boteti West constituency celebrations over the weekend that he would discuss the issue in his next meeting with his Zimbabwean counterpart President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Masisi revealed that his next meeting with his counterpart will be in a few months’ time.

In February, President Masisi also signed a similar deal with Namibian President Hage Geingob which allows citizens of both countries to cross the borders using national identity cards. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between both countries to permit national identity cards use for cross-border business and tourism travels. The change was expected to increase the economic and regional connectivity of the two nations to further encourage orderly migration.

Zimbabwe and Botswana have a symbiotic relationship as nationals of the two countries gain from either economy. Batswana nationals mostly cross into Zimbabwe to seek tertiary education, or as religious tourists, while most Zimbabweans migrate to Botswana as economic refugees looking for employment opportunities, and also specifically for shopping.

 President Masisi said that the same bilateral measures would be extended to other neighbors that share borders with his country.

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