The Member of Parliament for the North Tongu constituency who doubles as the Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee of the house, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has charged African presidents to send an unambiguous warning to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities to register their displeasure over travel restrictions imposed on some African countries.
Ablakwa’s call comes on the back of a travel ban imposed on some African countries, announced in a statement shared on the website of Emirates Airlines.
The statement indicated that, passengers originating from Luanda, Conakry, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Entebbe, Harare, Lusaka, Accra, Abidjan and Addis Ababa to Dubai will not be allowed entry or transit effective December 28, 2021.
“Restrictions on entry and transit through Dubai on customers originating from the following destinations will not be accepted for travel to or through Dubai with effect from 28 December 2021 until further notice”.
The restrictions affect countries including the Republic of Angola, Republic of Guinea, Republic of Kenya, United Republic of Tanzania, Republic of Uganda, Republic of Ghana, Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
The statement added that, customers originating from Conakry to Dakar will not be accepted for travel.
This action, according to the North Tongu MP, is retrogressive and must not be allowed to extend beyond unreasonable limits at the cost of innocent travellers from African countries.
“The World Health Organization, WHO, has stated clearly that, travel bans are counterproductive to the spread of COVID-19 and the new Omicron variant. The UAE is being discriminatory, racial and senseless towards Africans”.
He added that “if all African leaders solidarize and unanimously boycott the flagship Dubai Expo that’s currently ongoing, it will send a clear signal to the UAE authorities to rescind this draconian decision”.
“I will call on the president of Ghana and leader of ECOWAS to send a message to the UAE government and if possible decline an invite to attend a conference organized in his honour in the Dubai Expo. It’s time African leaders flex their muscles in equal measure to send a clear signal to the western world that, they can’t always treat Africa countries the way it pleases them without repercussions”.
Ablakwa also said, “there’s absolutely no excuse to hide behind vaccine hesitancy to impose senseless restrictions. I’m yet to hear or see any African country stage a demonstration against the vaccines like it happens in other western countries”.
“Vaccine hesitancy is not a new phenomenon, and it’s not peculiar to Africa. There’s no justification for travel restrictions when the daily covid infection records in Dubai itself, India, UK and other countries far exceed the countries banned in Africa”.
Emirates Airlines in its statement however noted that “outbound passenger operations from Dubai to these destinations remain unaffected”.
“Affected customers do not need to call us immediately for rebooking. Customers can simply hold on to their Emirates ticket and, when flights resume, get in touch with their travel agent or booking office to make new travel plans”.