South African President Jacob Zuma is on a three-day visit of Kenya to hold a series of bilateral talks with President Kenyatta.
President Zuma on Tuesday received a 21-gun salute at State House, Nairobi. The two leaders discussed issues of trade, defense and immigration cooperation.
One issue which Kenyans could not wait to find out was the travel restrictions being put on them. South Africa has tough visa conditions for Kenyans, which includes a KSh 4,200 processing fee for visas that often requires at least five working days to process.
South Africans on the other hand can get a Kenyan visa on arrival at a port of entry in the country for free.
At a joint press conference at State House, Nairobi, Mr Zuma said South Africa was trying to balance between opening up and controlling the admission of what he described as “bad people” into his country.
The President said:
”This is a privilege that Kenya already extends to South African nationals. In our view, there is no reason why both our countries cannot agree on exemption of visas for each other’s citizens.”
“The leaders on the continent have realized that the history of colonialism divided without our agreement… and therefore there is a broader agenda to soften the borders.
”That in itself indicates that the issue of borders and visas is being attended to,” Zuma added.
President Kenyatta said the two leaders agreed to increase the trade between the two countries by progressively removing all barriers. They will start with non-tariff barriers that prevent Kenya from exporting agricultural produce like tea, coffee or soda ash to South Africa.
President Kenyatta applauded his counterpart’s commitment to resolving the urgent outstanding matter.
The two leaders signed MOUs on issues of security, Trade and Investment, Visa Exemption and on Cooperation in the Field of Biodiversity, Conservation and Management.