Joseph Lenku: Kenya to open more border points to stem insecurity
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Kenya plans to open more immigration border posts along the Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia borders as part of efforts to tame insecurity.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku said on Wednesday the borders are porous, huge and largely remain unmanned which has contributed to the increase of small arms and light weapons and hence insecurity in the region.
He said border which measures more than 1,600 kilometers have at least three immigration posts which are not well equipped.
“We plan to open more immigration border posts along the main border to boost security of the country,” he said.
Ole Lenku said manning the area has been a challenge to the government and urged for assistance from the British government to help in boosting the security agency’s capacity.
He made the remarks when he received 23 assorted vehicles, 55 medical kits and three communication radios from the British Government in Nairobi on Wednesday.
He urged the British authorities to continue boosting Kenya towards ensuring the country is safe.
The equipment was handed over by the British High Commissioner to Kenya Christian Turner at the Administration Police’s Uhuru Camp in Nairobi.
The equipment will boost the Border Patrol Unit’s capacity to man the Somalia- Kenya border, which remains the single largest contributing factor to the proliferation of firearms in the region.
The issue of immigration and especially along the main borders is a concern to the adoption of East African Community (EAC) single tourist visa.
Lenku said the regional nations have pledged to urgently address the issues ahead of the planned 2014 time of adoption.
The minister said at the weekend the countries have pledged to work on their immigration issues and ensure Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure is addressed.
“We want to ensure that our immigration system is shared amongst the member states. For instance, if visitor enters Uganda from Kenya, all other EAC member states are able to know through the integrated immigration system.
He said this will ensure criminals do not cross from one country to the other at will through sharing of information among member states.
Poorly developed ICT infrastructure at the national levels to facilitate connectivity of the entry or exit points may delay the introduction of the single tourist visa in the five member states.
For the single visa to be issued, the partner states of Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi have to harmonise their visa issuing regimes and fee structures, which they have not done.
The minister stressed that the EAC as a single tourist destination is among the key success factors for integration.
Lenku said considering the identified challenges, the introduction of a single tourist visa would now require a multi-sectoral approach as it is not confined to the immigration or tourism sectors alone.
He added some of the countries in the region have already passed immigration laws and, within that context, are looking at harmonising the fees for visitors in our region.