Let’s get tough at our land borders

12Apr 2020
The Guardian
Let’s get tough at our land borders

Borders are geographic boundaries of political entities or legal jurisdictions, such as governments, sovereign states, federated states, and other subnational entities. Borders are established through agreements between political or social entities that control those areas; the creation-

-of these agreements is called boundary delimitation.

Some borders—such as a state's internal administrative border, or inter-state borders within the Schengen Area—are often open and completely unguarded.

The Schengen Area is an area comprising 26 European states that have officially abolished all passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders. The area mostly functions as a single jurisdiction for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy.

Other borders are partially or fully controlled, and may be crossed legally only at designated border checkpoints and border zones may be controlled.

As COVID-19 spreads around the world, many countries are adopting different measures in order to contain the virus.

From a total lockdown to the closure of land, sea and airports and aggressive quarantine of patients across the world, countries are racing against time to contain the deadly virus.

The tough decisions taken by some countries appear to be yielding results but unfortunately many countries are also facing challenges with measures they have instituted to combat the coronavirus.

One such measure that appears to be posing serious problems is the porous land borders of African countries.

In order to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, several regions in Tanzania have directed the closure of the regional borders.

Tanzania borders Kenya and Uganda on the north, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the west, and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique on the south. To the east it borders the Indian Ocean.

Unfortunately however, reports we are getting indicate that both human and vehicular movements are creating problems for security agencies manning the border posts.

Security personnel in charge of the borders are facing a herculean task in controlling bodaboda riders who use unapproved routes in the areas.

Similar reports from other parts of the country which is worrying because the activities of the bodaboda riders in the country pose a great danger to other citizens.

COVID-19 poses a particularly dire threat to all countries and if efforts being made to contain it are disregarded, then it would be difficult to win the fight against the virus.

It is important for the security agencies to mount surveillance on bodabodas and other users of unapproved routes in order to stop them from breaking the rules.

The current battle against the pandemic needs the cooperation of all citizens and anyone who is caught flouting the measures instituted to contain the virus must be punished severely.

Because, not only are they putting their lives in danger but they risk spreading the disease and that would be disastrous for the country that is trying hard to prevent the spread of the disease.

We urge the security services particularly to draw from the significant experience of other countries in controlling their borders to prevent their citizens from flouting the measures instituted against the disease.

We also call on the government to adopt tough measures and to severely deal with members of the public who would take the law into their own hands and behave in a manner that puts the rest of the people in danger.