The government has launched the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for points of entry and exit which are geared towards protecting the country’s borders and promoting legitimate trade.
State Department of Interior and Citizen Services Principal Secretary (PS) Karanja Kibicho said that this is a momentous step for Kenya – one that is going to have a big impact on how one travels, invest in security measures and conducts business with neighbours and other countries globally.
Kibicho said that these up-to-date, policy-backed, innovative and technology-centered standard operating procedures will guide in the coordination of operations and information and resource-sharing among border agencies.
In a speech read on his behalf by Nairobi Regional Commissioner (RC) Kang’ethe Thuku at a Nairobi hotel on Tuesday during the launch, Kibicho said that since the inception of coordinated border management, border officials have been conducting joint operations without a comprehensive guiding tool and to remedy this situation, a guide with modern and innovative means of border management had to be developed.
“It is on this note that the Border Control and Operations Coordination Committee (BCOCC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) partnered and formed a technical working group. The IOM also on boarded Elroy Africa, an experienced consultant in border management, to help in the development of the standard operating procedures,” said the PS.
Kibicho noted these procedures will ultimately enhance efficiency and effectiveness of border security and help in the continued promotion of legitimate trade and travel.
“Moreover, both Kenyan citizens and foreigners can expect a more streamlined process when entering and exiting the country. This will include faster processing times as well the improvement of security at our points of entry and exit,” he said.
He explained that the Standard Operating Procedures have also been formulated in a manner that will build upon better cooperation and collaboration between border agencies and all these calculated moves will be a boost for the whole-of-government and multi-agency approach and address existing operational challenges and lead in the adoption of global best practices.
“Our efforts should be geared towards the continuation of this innovative and collaborative trajectory. This will ensure that we bring on board more partners and continue having an international outlook on border management,” said the PS.
On his part, Nairobi Regional Commissioner (RC) Kang’ethe Thuku said that the country has lost a lot of revenue due to illegal trade at the borders, illegal migration, insecurity and other challenges which will be addressed by the new procedures.
Thuku highlighted that all systems have been put in place for the reopening of the Kenya-Somalia border as President Uhuru Kenyatta and Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud agreed to open the border.
“The greater good for Kenya is to open the border since we will be able to harmonise our trade. The things that separate us have been taken care of, issue to do with terrorism the Kenya Defense Force (KDF) have been in Somalia for many years helping them to fight terrorism and we have reached a stage where we need to cooperate in terms of trade and many other things like cultural exchange,” said Thuku.
Border Management Secretariat (BMS) Secretary Kennedy Nyaiyo said that they will be launching a five-year strategic plan which will guide them on how best to continuously coordinate the border points.
Nyaiyo added that they have developed a curriculum to induct border management committee officers together with the Kenya School of Government (KSG).
The Chief of Mission, International Organization for Migration, Ms. Sharon Dimanche said that Kenya has been leading in the region and commended the country for launching the Standard Operating Procedures as it is the first country to do so in the region.
“These procedures will give us guidelines and roadmap on how to work together and to ensure that security of the country transcends beyond the Kenyan border into the region. Thank you for the leadership in the region and I believe that many countries will come to benchmark here,” said Dimanche.
She said that they would assist in the reopening of the Kenya-Somalia border by assisting in infrastructure enhancement and border community engagement.
By Joseph Ng’ang’a