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Review immigration laws to enhance bloc cohesion

Review immigration laws to enhance bloc cohesion

HISTORICALLY when the European powers met in Berlin in 1884 for a conference to divide Africa, after being motivated by its valuable resources, and quest for national prestige, none of them took time to bother that these were people living with a lot of undugu (communal lifestyle) in mind, and hence did not want interruptions.

In the process, they marked their political and administrative boundaries which after the ‘colonies’ independence, have continued to be observed as sovereign States, without them also taking time to realize that fellow Africans families were disrupted and divided without their wish and consultations.

This comes in light to be addressed as regional blocs ranging from East Africa Community (EAC) comprising of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan are gearing for a long-term brotherly co-existence.

The list may also include SADC member States of Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, where their citizens of over 350 million people have blood relatives and shared cultures, only to be divided and end up viewing one another as a foreigner.

After independence and with the spirit to be one people, one village and with one voice, the founding fathers of many African countries, including Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Nelson Mandela, Samora Marcel and Ahmed Ben of Algeria had the dream and spirit of coming up with a united, independent and strong Africa.

Indeed the efforts of Africa’s founding fathers did not go to waste as the continent continues to celebrate their work and achieving their dreams, remembering that they dedicated their lives to realize the goals.

It should be noted that some came up with the Casablanca bloc advocating for a more ‘radical approach,’ while others wanted the Monrovia one, however, all had a common goal of Africa had to unite in one way or the other.

With the background, the centrality of the immigration department in the integration process is still a key in actualizing the objectives of the binding treaties, which created the regional integrated communities.

Whereas, regional integration envisions a community where people can move and establish residence in their partner state territories freely as envisioned by the Pan-Africanists, some policy challenges inherent in the immigration continue to hamper the realization of meaningful integration.

Think of a local Tanzanian heading to Tororo (Uganda) or Beira (Mozambique), or Mombasa (Kenya), where he is married only to be subjected to rigorous immigration procedures, (papers, yellow fever immunization card and others) as a total foreigner in the neighbourhood, in the same way a person from North Pole, miles away is being treated when he/she jets into the same countries.

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Author: EDITOR

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