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Controversy Surrounds Kenya’s Recent Visa-Free Entry Decision

Controversy Surrounds Kenya's Recent Visa-Free Entry Decision

Kenya’s recent move to grant visa-free entry to all foreigners has ignited controversy, labeled by critics as “hectic.”

President William Ruto unveiled this policy last month, aiming to facilitate visa-free travel across Africa. However, the Kenyan authorities clarified that despite the visa-free provision, visitors are now required to obtain electronic travel authorisation (ETA). This process involves submitting documents and paying a $30 processing fee.

Interestingly, this new requirement applies even to citizens of nations that previously enjoyed unrestricted access to Kenya. Authorities have reported receiving over 9,000 visa applications through the digital platform as of Sunday.

Kenya’s President, William Ruto

Foreigners are expressing discontent, asserting that the new policy has introduced confusion and escalated the difficulty and cost associated with travelling to Kenya. Notably, prominent Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin’ono criticised Kenya, contending, “Dear Africans, Kenya is not telling the truth when it says it is visa-free; it has made travelling more difficult for Africans who didn’t need a visa before.”

Similar sentiments were shared by Malawian entrepreneur Jones Ntaukira, who remarked,

“Until 24 hours ago, as a Malawian, I could just wake up, buy a ticket and fly to Kenya in the afternoon, visa-free. Now, Kenya has ‘removed visa’ for everyone, but everyone has to pay a $30 travel authorization fee 72 hours before travel. What? Hectic.”

Not only are foreigners voicing concerns, but some Kenyans are also apprehensive. There’s a fear that these stricter restrictions might lead to a potential boycott by certain foreigners or trigger reciprocal restrictions from other countries.

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