Nairobi — President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed that all Africans wishing to visit Kenya be issued with visas at various points of entry.
Speaking during his maiden speech following his inauguration for a second term in office at the Kasarani Stadium, the Head of State expressed hope that this would prompt other African states to open up their borders in order to promote free movement.
He stated that the visas would not be issued on a reciprocal basis and was made to enable free trade and cooperation with the various African nations.
"The freer we are to travel and live with one another, the more integrated and appreciative of our diversity, we will become. The political balkanization that risks our mutual security, the negative politics of identity, will recede as our brotherhood expands to embrace more Africans," he said.
"Today, I am directing that any African wishing to visit Kenya will be eligible to receive a visa at the port of entry. To underscore Kenya's commitment, this shall not be done on the basis of reciprocity."
He further announced that all East African Community nationals are free to work in Kenya without work permits with all that is needed being their national IDs and for them to observe the stipulated laws.
"As a mark of our continued commitment to you, our Brothers and Sisters in the East African Community; from today, you will be treated like Kenyans. Like your Kenyan brothers and sisters, you will need only your identity card. You can now work, do business; own property, farm and if you wish, and find a willing partner, you can marry and settle in Kenya," he stated.
He stated that the decision was driven by the desire for deeper regional integration.
"As l welcome you, l remind you that equally you shall be subject to the same rules and laws as your Kenyan brothers and sisters," he said.
"You are our closest friends; our fate and yours are joined at the hip; our troubles and triumphs are yours, and yours are ours. I will work with you, my brothers, the leaders of the East African Community, to bring a renewed energy and optimism to our union," he stressed.
Earlier, he received a 21-gun salute from the Kenya Defence Forces, to affirm him as the Commander in Chief.
That marked the beginning of a second five-year term after a prolonged electioneering period, characterised by divisiveness.