AS the government gears up for the new East African Community (EAC) passports from next January, after a Summit in Arusha of Heads of State, we should all lend support because the new document will be‘duplicate-proof’ and promises to deal our omnipresent copy-cats the ultimate deterrent.
That’s the first part, electronically guarded and just unique as travel document go and that it will be good to go against shady deals by all sorts of people with ill-intentions visiting upon the existing passports – which, we’re told, can be manufactured from backyard printhouses.
The second part is that it will also turn up roses for the public which is now only too familiar with everything electronic; so this new document will provide them, as travellers, with benefits such as use of automated border clearance or ‘E-gates’, automated issuance of boarding passes and faster travel arrangements with airlines: It couldn’t get easier, so the promise goes, purely at the tech level.
At the practical human element, the importance of this new document will be important given the fact EAC bloc itself is a regional intergovernmental organisation that incorporates the Republics of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda and our country, after a Treaty they acceded to in 1999.
Not to beg the obvious, this unique document will undoubtedly usher in many other benefits within the bloc in terms of regional co-operation and integration and ‘empower’ the holder to enjoy doing business, research and enjoy peace of mind, secure in the knowledge that security of residence is assured wherever they may be, in other words, at home while one is away from home.
Travellers within the community with the document should realise that it will boost their free movement across the East African region and facilitate implementation of the Common Market protocol, which guarantees them the right to move between the countries as free citizens.
With assurance that it will have diplomatic service and ordinary categories, different from the current machine readable passport issued by the partners states, Tanzanians should be happy that it will be valid for up to a decade and keep off unathorised reading or ‘scanning’ of its stored data, likely to be manipulated by criminals.
As citizens, this will be a major milestone towards achieving a harmonised and friendly co-existence in the bloc as traders will try to adopt advanced technologies to improve business in the region.