By Alois Vinga
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has been urged to expedite the ratification of an Africa visa protocol that will ensure people from across the continent only apply for these at ports of entry.
Currently, citizens from most countries have to make prior visa arrangements before travelling to Zimbabwe. Labour federation, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has written to President Mnangagwa urging him to ratify the protocol.
In the letter, a copy of which NewZimbabwe.com has in its possession, ZCTU secretary general, Japhet Moyo reminded the President that Zimbabwe actually voted for the adoption of the Protocol and the Implementation Roadmap document but is yet to take it through Parliament for ratification a year after the deadline.
“The ZCTU is, therefore, calling on you Mr President to use your good offices and goodwill to ensure that the government of Zimbabwe ratifies and domesticates this protocol without further delay,” Moyo said.
The roadmap was derived from the African Union Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community Relating to the Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment and other related migration instruments.
Moyo also called on Mnangagwa to ratify other related labour migration instruments such as the International Labour Organisations; the Migration for employment Convention Number 97/1949, Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention Number 143/1975 and Domestic Workers Convention Number 189/2011.
According to Moyo the benefits of the ratification, domestication and effective application and enforcement include increased openness to business engineering and growth; cultural and social cohesion, youths ideas cross-fertilisation, talents and skills penetrations, consolidation of Africa’s democracy, improved human rights preservation amongst others.
“As we count on your government’s ratification of the AU’s Protocol to the Treaty, we humbly ask that Mr President accepts the assurances of our very high regards,” the ZCTU added.
Millions of Zimbabweans who have escaped two decade of turmoil into neighbouring countries mainly South Africa, Botswana and Namibia could benefit from the ratification.
The protocols are inspired by AU’s agenda 2063 which envisions an integrated Africa and calls for not just economic integration, but the integration of Africa’s people by breaking down the invisible and physical barriers that have limited the movement of people and weakened the spirit of pan-Africanism.
It has been argued that these barriers have prevented the growth of a knowledge-and skills-sharing economy, which is vital for the advancement of any society.