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South Africa’s Zuma due in Kenya Monday for state visit

It will be the first state visit by a South African leader. Photo/AFP-FILE.

It will be the first state visit by a South African leader. Photo/AFP-FILE.

NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 9 – SOUTH African President Jacob Zuma arrives in Nairobi Monday in what will be the first state visit by a South African head of state.

State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu says Zuma will be in the country for three days during which he will hold bilateral talks with his host President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House.

Manoah said talks between the two leaders will mainly centre on trade, security and immigration especially on the implementation of the Visa issues between the two countries to allow free movement of its citizens.

“The Presidents will be seeking to tackle non-tariff barriers, remove barriers impeding greater people-to-people contact between the two countries and examine ways to cooperate and collaborate in the security area in a globalized environment,” Esipisu told journalists on Sunday during a media briefing at State House.

Matters immigration, he said, will be an important agenda item for Kenyans as it has been a matter of concern to those living in the Southern African countries of Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

“These Kenyans have raised the matter directly with the President during his visits to their region,” he said, before adding, “you may recall that earlier this year, South Africa agreed to introduce visa exemptions for holders of diplomatic and official passports, decrease visa service fees from $71(Sh7, 152) to $49 (Sh4, 936) and remove the transit visa requirement for travelers transiting through South African airports.”

On the trade front, President Kenyatta will specifically be seeking to mitigate high levies facing Kenya’s tea exports and restrictions against other products, including but not limited to soda ash and processed meat.

In terms of security, the Heads of State will be seeking to consolidate and expand their counter-terrorism efforts, in a bid to more effectively and strategically push back against the twin threats of violent extremism and radicalisation.

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The talks between the two leaders will also include lobbying for Foreign Affairs CS Amina Mohammed for the African Union top job.

“The president already reached out to President Zuma seeking his support and will return to that subject in the meeting on Tuesday,” Manoah said.

The process includes the African Union Commission circulating candidatures to all AU Members States on or before 14th October, in order to meet the requirement that nominee’s names be circulated at least three months before the election.

Once member states are aware of the candidatures, they will consider each nominee during the AU Summit in January 2017.

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