CURRENT AFFAIRS

Dual Citizenship: Likely For Zambians?

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According the Lusaka Times, the constitution national conference has adopted Article 18 of the draft constitution which provides that a Zambian Citizen can acquire dual-citizenship.

 

Article 18 (1) in the draft constitution states that “A citizen shall not lose citizenship by acquiring the citizenship of another country”.

 

The proposal was widely supported, though some delegates from the Government wondered why a Zambian should acquire citizenship of another country.

 

But the majority of the delegates said the constitution was not only for now but was mainly for the children who would find themselves in situations where they would need dual citizenship.

 

The Government has been on record of not supporting the Dual Citizenship clause.

 

Last year when President Michael Sata addressed Zambians in London, he said that amending the law to allow dual citizenship has its consequences. Mr Sata said that if the law was changed, there will be more Zambians and jobs will be taken away by other nationalities living in the country.

 

In response to a question from a Zambian living in England during a dinner hosted for him at the Zambian High Commissioner’s residence. Mr Sata advised Zambians living abroad to return home and compete for jobs with their compatriots.

 

The President also said that he has a duty to protect the majority of Zambians especially poor citizens.

 

The Vice President Guy Scott also expressed a similar sentiment of not being in support of the Dual Citizenship clause. Addressing Zambians living in Western Australia at Edith Cowan University in Perth when he addressed in 2011, Dr Scott said that although the issue of having dual citizenship among Zambians could be important and helpful to some, government was worried that other people might misuse it for dubious activities.

 

“The issue of dual citizenship was important but we are worried about the misuse it will bring. But it would be important that you are entitled to that,” he told Zambians in Perth.

 

And during the provincial Convention, Government Ministers rejected the inclusion of the Dual Citizenship clause. Leading the charge during debates, Chief Government spokesperson Kennedy Sakeni said that the clause should be rejected on patriotic and nationalist grounds.

 

Debating on the motion, Mr Sakeni urged Zambians to critically look at the issue of dual citizenship and ensure that it was not allowed in Zambia.

 

“AS Zambians, let us critically look at the issue of dual citizenship and take the interest of the nation at heart. Why do people want to be citizens of other countries in the first place,” Mr Sakeni said.

 

His sentiments were echoed by Labour Deputy Minister Ronald Chitotela who argued that dual citizenship would make it difficult to extradite Zambians who committed crimes if they moved to other countries where they had citizenship.

 

“Let us denounce dual citizenship because even countries like United Kingdom are having difficulties to extradite criminals,” Labour Deputy Minister Ronald Chitotela said.

 

With the adoption at the ongoing national convention, the Dual Citizenship clause stands a good chance of being included in the final Draft Constitution to be ready by the end of June.