President Kenyatta announced the scrapping of the visa requirement for Mozambican citizens wishing to visit Kenya during a State banquet hosted for him and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta by President Filipe Nyusi and the First Lady of Mozambique, Isaura Nyusi, at the Ponta Vermelha Palace in Maputo last evening.
“Our forefathers fought for political liberation. It falls upon us to ensure economic liberation, to ensure the artificial boundaries created by former colonial masters are removed and that our people are free to travel, trade, do business and marry without obstacles,” President Kenyatta said.
To further enhance cooperation between the two countries, President Kenyatta said Kenya will this year open a consulate in Maputo with the aim of having a full mission next financial year.
In November last year, President Kenyatta directed that all Africans shall receive visas on arrival in Kenya but that is now a thing of the past for Mozambican nationals following his latest directive.
“I urge our Mozambican brothers and sisters to take advantage of this opportunity to invest in Kenya and trade with their Kenyan brothers and sisters,” President Kenyatta said.
The President observed that the people of Kenya and Mozambique were bound together by a common culture, ancestry and peoples.
“While Kenya and Mozambique established diplomatic relations in 1975, there is evidence of interaction that dates back to the pre-colonial era,” the President said.
Underlining the close ties between Kenya and Mozambique, President Kenyatta said the community of Makonde speakers, originally of Mozambican descent, now constitute part of the Kenyan citizenry and are officially recognised as the 43rd tribe of Kenya.
“I personally had the honour to preside over the official ceremony conferring citizenship to the Makonde community early last year. The event was not mere tokenism, but the result of our firm belief in the oneness and unity of all African peoples irrespective of their descent,” he said.
“This has also created a special and strong bond of kinship between our two peoples,” President Kenyatta said.
Noting that there were seasoned Kiswahili speakers in both Mozambique and Kenya, President Kenyatta said that placed an added responsibility on the two countries to promote Swahili, which is now officially an African Union (AU) language.
As the two countries move to upscale their bilateral cooperation to a more strategic partnership, President Kenyatta expressed the need for a review of the Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) with a view to elevating it to a Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) in the near future.