By Godfrey Tembo
Harare, Zimbabwe (News of the South)-Government’s move to amend the constitution and scrap dual citizenship has been attacked as a lack of political accountability aimed at blocking those in the diaspora from voting in the 2018 elections.
The Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede was reported in the media stating that government is no longer seeking to realign the country’s laws with the Constitution but will instead amend and expunge the dual citizenship clause from the Constitution.
This has raised the ire of many who have accused the government of reneging on public agreements and negotiations that gave rise to the 2013 Constitution.
In a statement CCZ has damned the government for its move citing it as disturbing.
“We are deeply concerned with efforts and intentions by the State to scrap dual citizenship by amending Chapter 3 of the Zimbabwean constitution”
“The development indicates an absence of political accountability and political will to speedily re-align the country’s laws to the Constitution including the Citizen’s Act. In our view an amendment of Chapter 3 of the Constitution will cause statelessness”
CCZ says that recent statements by the Registrar General, Tobaiwa Mudede that the government will not seek to align the Citizenship Act to the new Constitution on dual citizenship (arguing that it posed security threats to the country) is confirmation that government is not committed to implement the constitution in its current state.
“We view the utterances by the Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede as part of a bigger ploy to disenfranchise Zimbabweans living in the diaspora as we head towards the watershed 2018 elections”
“The government has also exhibited a hastiness to amend the constitution and clearly the pattern shows that this second attempt to amend the constitution since 2013 seeks to bring to life the rejected ZANU-PF amendments proposed to COPAC (regarding citizenship) in August 2012”
It stated that its appalled by such undemocratic and discriminatory tendencies by government considering that the new Constitution is a new document which was an outcome of extensive input of the majority including Zimbabweans living in the diaspora.
“Chapter 3 of the Constitution is clear about dual citizenship, indicating that one may become a citizen of Zimbabwe by birth, descent or registration. Our reading of Chapter 3 is broadened by the Declaration of Rights in Chapter 4 Section 67 (3) (a) guaranteeing the right to political participation”
“As CiZC we contend that amending Chapter 3 of the Constitution is a political move aimed at causing confusion regarding the citizenship status of Zimbabweans in the diaspora ahead of the 2018 elections. Such a move also has potentially catastrophic consequences for the country’s citizens some of whom are citizens by descent”
With an estimated three million Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora due to the country’s economic and political crises among a myriad of other reasons the move to remove dual citizenship has been read as a blockage against their involvement in local political affairs.
CiZC stated that it is imperative for the government to note that the majority of its citizens are residing globally in countries such as South Africa, Namibia, Botswana Australia, USA and the United Kingdom among others where they are now holders of dual citizenship.
However, these nationals have remained Zimbabweans remitting close to US$2billion annually.
If the government goes ahead and strips those in the diaspora they will not only be disenfranchised in the event that they want to come back home to vote in the 2018 elections but some of them will be permanently stripped of their Zimbabwean citizenship.
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