Zimbabwe and Botswana citizens will soon be using national identity cards as travel documents amid indications that Botswana president Mokgweetsi Masisi has hinted on scrapping use of passports between the two nations.
Media reports in Botswana say President Mokgweetsi Masisi is planning to meet President Mnangagwa, with whom he enjoys good relations, to deliberate on the proposal to allow nationals of the two countries to use national identity cards (IDs) to enter either jurisdiction. Currently, citizens from both countries require passports for cross-border travel. According to the media reports, President Masisi told democrats attending the Boteti West constituency celebrations that he was expecting to pitch the idea to President Mnangagwa when they meet.
“President Mokgweetsi Masisi has just revealed that in a few months’ time, he will be meeting his Zimbabwean counterpart Emmerson Mnangagwa on a visit where he will make sure they discuss the use of identity cards for border crossing among the two countries,” wrote a Botswana newspaper.
Last month, President Masisi and the Namibian President Hage Geingob signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to permit citizens of the two republics to use IDs to cross borders.
President Masisi said the same bilateral initiatives would be rolled out to other neighbouring countries that share borders with his country.
Botswana and Zimbabwe have a shared history, culture and family ties that pre-date the two countries’ diplomatic relations which were formally established in 1983.