Saturday, October 24, 2020

Long Visa red tape separates Botswana and Ghana

Botswana is being accused of refusing VISAs to Ghanaians seeking to come to Botswana.

Though Botswana’s Honorary Consulate in Ghana, Thomas Okyere, has denied allegations that he deliberately frustrates Ghanaians seeking to travel to Botswana , with the way he tosses potential applicants; Ghanaian honorary Consulate in Gaborone has confirmed the allegations.

Honorary consulate are individuals appointed to facilitate both Consular and Diplomatic functions of two countries; a foreign (sending nation) can appoint a citizen or resident of the receiving nation to act in an official capacity.

Botswana appointed Ghanaian Thomas Okyere of Ghana as the country’s honorary consul in Ghana.

Okyere was quoted by Ghanaian media on Friday refuting allegations. “It’s a blatant falsehood that I deny potential Ghanaian travellers to Botswana visas. Then why am I here?,” he asked rhetorically.

“I am here to ensure that as many as Ghanaians travel to Botswana and vice-versa so I don’t see why anyone would from the figment of his imagination think that I am here not serving my people,” he said

Michael Opare-Kumi at Ghanaian Honorary Consulate in Botswana told Sunday Standard that they also experienced difficulties acquiring VISAs to Botswana even though they are currently working in the country.

Opare-Kumi said in one incident that he termed “disheartening” a Ghanaian couple applied for Visas to come to Botswana only for the wife’s VISA to be approved while the husband’s VISA was approved a month later making it impossible for the couple to travel to Botswana.

“This is something that we discussed with the Botswana consulate in Ghana, and we were told that there are powers that be in Botswana who are responsible for approving and declining VISAs. We did not question much on the matter because we are not familiar with how Botswana does its things as far as acquiring a VISA into Botswana is concerned,” said Opare-Kumu.

Minister in the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs Edwin Batshu said that as a country Botswana cannot guarantee that people coming from all around the world seeking to visit Botswana would have their visas approved.

“Ghana is a friendly state but it doesn’t necessarily mean that all VISAs applications from Ghana would be approved. Every application is treated on its own looking at the background of the person who has applied. Turning the application down does not necessarily mean we refuse Ghanaians’ VISAs to visit Botswana,” said Batshu

The minister said he had not received any complaints from the people of Ghana or their representatives. 
“Surely it’s a matter that we will look into when it reaches our office. At the moment we have not yet received such complains.

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