East African Community clarifies on passports


Following reports that immigration officials, in particular in one country of the East African Community (EAC), not named to spare the added embarrassment, the secretariat of the EAC in Arusha has issued an urgent statement about the use of regional travel documents. It was clearly pointed out that all issued passports remained valid for the duration they were issued for, normally five years, while it was also mentioned that no new passports were presently being produced until a technological upgrade was put into effect.

This measure was aimed to introduce state-of-the-art features like containing biometric data of the passport holders and maybe even the latest chip technology. Once those issues have been resolved, the EAC member states would once more begin to issue the regional passports. Some anti-EAC immigration staff took advantage of the situation to bully travelers and in the process more likely than not extract “something small” from them, instead of simply doing their jobs according to EAC guidelines and regulations. Adds this correspondent, “find those responsible and sack them” as East Africans have had enough of corrupt officials undermining the EAC and inconveniencing the traveling public.

Confirmation was received from Rwanda that this exemplary country continues to accept the EAC passports without any restrictions, and first indication from Entebbe also confirms that immigration there has also no problems with the use of the EAC travel document, while others clearly have.