Min­is­ter pro­poses changes in ci­ti­zen­ship clause

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Nqo­bile Tshili Chron­i­cle Cor­re­spon­dent

THE Min­is­ter of Home Af­fairs Dr Ig­natius Chombo is propos­ing to amend ci­ti­zen­ship clauses in the Con­sti­tu­tion as part of leg­is­la­tion re­forms.

If the con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment is adopted, this would be the first time the coun­try would have re­vised parts of its con­sti­tu­tion that came into force in 2013.

Dr Chombo, in a pre­pared re­sponse sub­mit­ted to Par­lia­ment on his be­half by the Min­is­ter of Lands and Ru­ral Re­set­tle­ment, Dr Dou­glas Mombeshora dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s Ques­tion and An­swer ses­sion, said the pro­posed con­sti­tu­tional amend­ments had al­ready been for­warded to Govern­ment.

“The Min­istry has made sub­mis­sions to Govern­ment for amend­ments of cer­tain provisions of the Con­sti­tu­tion of Zim­babwe re­gard­ing the Ci­ti­zen­ship Law. As such, we there­fore await the said amend­ments to the Con­sti­tu­tion,” said Dr Chombo. The Min­is­ter did not give more de­tails on the pro­pos­als. Dr Chombo was re­spond­ing to a writ­ten ques­tion by Zanu-PF MP for Kadoma Cen­tral, Cde Fani Phiri, who wanted to know pro­ce­dures be­ing taken by Govern­ment on the sta­tus of peo­ple con­sid­ered to be “aliens”.

Ac­cord­ing to chap­ter three of the Con­sti­tu­tion, a per­son can be a cit­i­zen of Zim­babwe by birth, de­scent, or regis­tra­tion. It says ci­ti­zens by birth are per­sons who were born in Zim­babwe pro­vided that when they were born ei­ther their mother or their fa­ther was a Zim­bab­wean cit­i­zen or any of their grand­par­ents was a Zim­bab­wean cit­i­zen by birth or de­scent.

On ci­ti­zen­ship by de­scent, the Con­sti­tu­tion says: “Per­sons born out­side Zim­babwe are Zim­bab­weans by de­scent if, when they were born ei­ther of their par­ents or any of their grand­par­ents was a Zim­bab­wean cit­i­zen by birth or de­scent. Or ei­ther of their par­ents was a Zim­bab­wean cit­i­zen by regis­tra­tion and the birth is reg­is­tered in Zim­babwe in ac­cor­dance with law re­lat­ing to the regis­tra­tion of births.”

One can be a cit­i­zen by regis­tra­tion if he or she has been mar­ried to a Zim­bab­wean cit­i­zen for at least five years and sat­is­fies con­di­tions pre­scribed by an Act of Par­lia­ment.

Ci­ti­zen­ship by regis­tra­tion can also be ac­quired by any per­son who has been con­tin­u­ously and law­fully res­i­dent in Zim­babwe for at least 10 years and also sat­is­fies con­di­tions pre­scribed by an Act of Par­lia­ment.

It can also be granted to a child that has been adopted by a Zim­bab­wean cit­i­zen.

Mean­while, Dr Chombo also told MPs that Govern­ment would work to en­sure that iden­ti­fi­ca­tion doc­u­ments are ac­ces­si­ble to ci­ti­zens to en­able them to reg­is­ter as vot­ers ahead of the 2018 gen­eral elec­tions.

He said Govern­ment may con­sider re­view­ing down­wards the amount of money charged to ci­ti­zens who lose their na­tional iden­tity doc­u­ments.

“As a Min­istry and work­ing through the Reg­is­trar Gen­eral’s of­fice, we will work hard and be pre­pared to give Zim­bab­wean ci­ti­zens who ap­ply for doc­u­men­ta­tion to get those doc­u­ments. This will en­able them to reg­is­ter as vot­ers if they at­tain the le­gal age of ma­jor­ity,” the Min­is­ter said.

“What I know is on an an­nual ba­sis we have peo­ple who would want to ac­quire these na­tional doc­u­ments but have prob­lems in trav­el­ling long dis­tances to ac­quire the doc­u­ments.

“Hence, we have a mo­bile regis­tra­tion ex­er­cise which will go to the peo­ple in their var­i­ous dis­tricts so that they can ac­cess the doc­u­ments.” — @nqot­shili

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