ATLANTA – Finally After many years of promises administration after administration, Malawi Parliament on Wednesday made amendment to the Citizenship Act to allow for the concept of dual citizenship.The House approved changes to the Citizenship Act that will allow Malawians to hold dual citizenship, a move that brings Malawi in line with much of the world.

Malawian citizenship can now hold a citizenship of another country.

South African-based legal scholar Danwood Chirwa added his voice to the campiagn by saying there is need for dual citizenship to be recognised as it makes it possible for people with multi-national identities to retain those identities
He said it also makes it possible for such people to fulfill obligations to the countries they are affiliated to.

Professor Adamson Muula of the University of Malawi’s College of Medicine is also on record to have said he supports dual nationality.

Before the amendment, the Malawi Constitution did not allow Malawian citizens and foreign nationals of Malawian descent above the age of 18 to hold dual citizenship, as read in the Malawi Citizenship and Immigration Actof 1966.

Malawian Organizations in The U.S. Release Statement in Support of Dual Citizenship in Malawi

This has been long in the making.

Malawians in Texas Organization (MITO), and Malawians in Washington (MWA) together with other organizations in the diaspora are speaking with one voice in support of the announcement to draft new dual citizenship legislation in Parliament by His Excellency Peter Mutharika on July 16, 2016. Pursuant to the Malawi Citizenship and Immigration act of 1966, the Malawian constitution does not presently accommodate for Malawian citizens and foreign nationals of Malawian descent above the age of 21 to hold dual citizenship. The proposed legislation aims at extending this right to all people of Malawian origin. The current legislation change is not only welcome news, but a step in the right direction by the Mutharika administration on behalf of Malawians everywhere.

It is imperative that this great initiative move forward, so that both Malawians at home and abroad can benefit from an ever expanding global society. Therefore, Malawian organizations are working together in support of this initiative. Pursuant to the agreement set forth by MWA and MITO, we are advocating that all people of Malawian descent support this cause. As such, we have delivered advocacy statement in support of this initiative that states our support of the initiative and calls on the backing of comprehensive dual citizenship laws from all Malawians to the Malawian government through their official representatives at the U.S. Embassy in Washington D.C. We have also delivered letters to Members of Parliament, NGOs and other stakeholders. We have contacted media houses in Malawi to request that our joint statement be printed and published on all Malawian media platforms in order to sensitize the general public about the issues surrounding dual citizenship.

Having made the request for a redress of the citizenship laws in the past, the release of the statement is the most recent move by the Diaspora organizations in the U.S. to support the revision of dual citizenship legislation. Earlier advocacy activities have included hosting forums, making direct appeals to every Malawian President that followed the Hastings Banda administration, and the creation of an online platform in order to sensitize the public to the issues and debates surrounding dual citizenship on the web and on social media. MITO and MWA hope that dual citizenship will be treated as a matter of urgency and will continue to support the enactment of laws that are in the best interest of all Malawians.

ABOUT:

MWA is a registered non-profit organization in the Washington DC area that serves to unify Malawians in the U.S., assist Malawians in times of hardship, promote Malawian culture in the U.S., and advocate for issues of interest to Malawians.

MITO is a community-based 501c3 not-for-profit that serves to provide educational, medical, and general support to the Malawian diaspora both domestically and abroad.

As organizations in the Diaspora representing Malawians and friends of Malawi, we have long requested our government to enact more comprehensive, inclusive and forward-looking dual citizenship laws over the past few years. Malawian organizations in the United States are therefore speaking with one voice in support of the announcement to draft new dual citizenship legislation in Parliament by His Excellency, President Peter Mutharika.

Pursuant to the and Immigration act of 1966, the Malawian constitution does not presently accommodate for Malawian citizens and foreign nationals of Malawian descent over 21 years of age to hold dual citizenship. Therefore, the current legislation change is not only welcome news, but a step in the right direction by the Mutharika administration on behalf of Malawians everywhere. We believe dual citizenship would be a tremendous benefit to the government and to all people of Malawian origin. We believe such a system would provide the following advantages:

ECONOMIC GROWTH:

It will encourage economic investments in Malawi from Malawians abroad.
It will allow an estimated $40M USD in remittances or money that the Diaspora sends annually to transfer through the formal sector, thus increasing foreign currency flow and development projects they contribute towards.
It will encourage capital investments into creation of businesses that generate jobs, goods and services, thereby facilitating increasing trade between the host countries which is important in a new globalized environment.

EDUCATIONAL ADVANCEMENTS:

It will provide a platform to mitigate the effects of the brain drain because those that leave seeking education will be more likely to return due to legally being allowed to seek employment.
It will support Malawians that have an understanding of the culture and are returning home since they are in a unique position to exchange ideas, knowledge, expertise and training that is suitable for Malawi.

CULTURAL PRESERVATION:

It will help Malawians keep a sense of personal identity and national pride.
It will promote a culture inclusive of all Malawians, thereby redefining divisions created by colonial borders. ➢ It will prevent future generations of Malawians from assimilating their host countries to the point of losing ties or linkages to Malawi.

Malawian organizations in the United States believe that dual citizenship is a right for all people of Malawian descent. As organizations, we will work tirelessly to support initiatives that will have the greatest impact to the nation and the Diaspora. We will continue advocating both the Embassy in the United States and the Malawi government to implement dual citizenship which advances Malawi’s socio-economic prosperity.

We hope to do our part to contribute to a better, stronger, unified Malawi and think a commitment to inclusive dual citizenship laws will facilitate this in several ways. Our website, www.dualcitizenshipmalawi.org provides more information about the debate surrounding dual citizenship and its benefits. We hope that we can count on the support of our Malawian brothers and sisters in the movement towards this realization.

For more information about the Movement for Dual Citizenship for Malawi, can be obtained at www.dualcitizenshipmalawi.org, or by contacting MWA at president@malawiwashington.org or MITO at malawiansintexas@gmail.com.

Media Contacts: Agnes Nkhata (MITO) malawiansintexas@gmail.com 469-709-0258, Sitinga Kachipande (MWA) president@malawiwashington.org 240-338-4479

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