Hundreds of Zimbabweans have been blocked from crossing the country’s borders with South Africa and Botswana, with immigration officials questioning the validity of their COVID-19 test certificates and various documents.
Two footballers, Agrippa Murimba (Triangle United Football Club), and Raymond Uchena (Harare City Football Club), who are planning to join Morupule Wanderers, are among the people that have been stranded at Botswana’s Ramokgwebana border post for almost two days.
The Zimbabwean government recently announced that it was opening land borders with neighboring countries after it eased out seven-month-long restrictions aimed at to stem the spread of coronavirus.
It costs $60 in Zimbabwe, to get tested for coronavirus. The test certificate remains valid for 72 hours. Many people, who have been going to neighboring countries to earn living, said the charges for testing was beyond their reach.
At the border posts of Botswana and South Africa, immigration officials are scrutinizing COVID-19 test certificates. They turn away people, without certificates.
Botswana’s Health Minister, Edwin Dikoloti said his country was not going to allow immigrants to visit his country without proper COVID-19 tests.
In Zimbabwe, Killer Zivhu, president of the Cross-Borders Traders Association has pleaded with authorities to allow buses to cross borders.
“Please we ask that buses be permitted to operate now since there are very few people at our neighboring land borders,” said Zivhu on Twitter. He said there was little risk of buses fueling the spread of the pandemic.
According to the International Cross Border Traders Association (ICBTA), hordes of Zimbabweans are being turned away from the entry points.
Denis Juru, president of the ICBTA said on last Tuesday, 622 Zimbabweans were turned away at the Beitbridge border post due to a lack of proper COVID-19 test certificates.
He said that 230 Zimbabweans are facing a similar problem at the Plumtree border in Botswana post. As many as 2148 Zimbabweans want to return home or visit Botswana.
At Forbes border post, a land border between Zimbabwe and Mozambique, 531 Zimbabweans recently failed to produce proper documentation.