Malawi President Peter Mutharika has assented to the amendment to the Citizenship Act which now provides for dual citizenship law in the country.Speaker of Malawi Parliament Richard Msowoya disclosed the development on Tuesday during announcements to the House at the start of the Mid-year Budget Review Meeting in Lilongwe.
Msowoya told the house that among the Bills that were sent to the President to assent, the Dual Citizenship has been given the nod.The new law repeals Sections 8 to 11 of the Citizenship Act which dealt with citizenship of children born outside Malawi, loss of citizenship if a person acquires another citizenship other than by marriage and loss of citizenship by a Malawian woman who marries a foreigner unless she denounces her other citizenship.
It allows for dual citizenship for Malawians with government’s hope of improving socio-economic activity among Malawians.
For children born in the diaspora, the repeal of Section 7, which obligated them to denounce their country of birth upon reaching 21 years, would enable them to reconnect with Malawi better as opposed to being treated as foreigners and applying for visa’s in a country of their parents’ birth.Leader of House Kondwani Nankhumwa disclosed that Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe will make his statement on Friday, March 8.It is anticipated that the budget could be cut by as much as MK32 billion from the recurrent expenditure and about MK28 billion from the development budget to make up for the MK60 billion that the World Bank has not disbursed but was factored into the budget.
Nankhumwa said the programme for the budget meeting would remain traditional with Tuesday and Thursday mornings catering for questions to ministers for oral replies and Wednesdays for committee reports.The two-week meeting is the final for the current cohort of Parliament ahead of the May 21 Tripartite Elections.
The budget review meeting runs from March 5 to 18.
Rustenburg – Lesotho has amended her constitution to allow for dual citizenship, Lesotho Home Affairs Minister Tsukutlane Au said on Sunday.
“We have amended our constitution to allow for dual citizenship, but the target was not South Africa per se. We are targeting all the countries where we have lost Basotho as a result of dual citizenship [problems], whether they have taken American citizenship, they have taken British citizenship, they have taken South African citizenship, whether they have taken German citizenship.
“We are targeting all Basothos who have lost citizenship so that we can still reverse the brain drain, because we have suffered serious brain drain as a result of losing those skills,” he said.
Au was speaking in Rustenburg in the North West during a visit to inform members of the Free Basotho Movement of development in Lesotho. The Free Basotho Movement has been calling for Lesotho to be incorporated into South Africa.
He said Lesotho was unique in the sense that it was surrounded by South Africa, unlike other neighbouring countries. “We are not like Zimbabweans, we are not Zambians, we are not like Batswanas, we are totally unique when in comes to South Africa, we are in the middle of South Africa, we are surrounded by South Africa, so that means our relations with South Africa have to be very unique.”
Au said Basothos had lost their citizenship when they took out another country’s citizenship and thus Lesotho had lost a number of people they had invested in educationally.
He also condemned killings in Sondela and appealed for calm, saying there was a committee in Lesotho attending to problems Basotho faced in South Africa.
At least 11 people have been killed in recent clashes between Basotho and Xhosas in Sondela near Rustenburg. The clashes were allegedly set-off by a love rivalry between a Xhosa man and a Mosotho. The two reportedly fought over a woman in August. The Mosotho was stabbed and taken to hospital, and a few days later the Xhosa man who allegedly stabbed him was beaten up by a group of Basotho men at a soccer match at a local sport ground.
Things got out of hand on November 18 when two Basotho men were brutally killed, allegedly by a group of Xhosa men. They were allegedly hit with hammers and their bodies dragged to an open veld where they were set alight.
In retaliation, the Basotho were reinforced by a group called the Marashiya from Lesotho. On November 25, four men and a woman were kidnapped. They were found dead the next day. Three men and a woman had been burnt with old tyres while another man was stabbed in the neck and his nose was cut off.
Eight people have been arrested and three are due to appear in the Rustenburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday on charges of conspiracy to commit murder. The other five are expected to appear in the same court on December 6.
MALAWI CITIZENSHIP: Citizenship is based upon the Malawi Citizenship Act, dated July 6, 1966. Every person who was a citizen of Malawi before July 6, 1966, continues to be a citizen of Malawi. (UKC-Commonwealth Nation)
BY BIRTH: Birth within the territory of Malawi does not automatically confer citizenship. The exception is a child born of unknown parents.
BY DESCENT: Child born in Malawi, on or after July 6, 1966, whose father or mother is a citizen of Malawi and is of African race.
Child born abroad, on or after July 6, 1966, one of whose parents is a native-born citizen of Malawi of African race. BY NATURALIZATION: Malawian citizenship may be acquired upon fulfillment of the following conditions: Person is of an African race or has Commonwealth or Malawian ties, has resided five years in the country, has adequate knowledge of the English language, intends to reside permanently in Malawi, and will renounce previous citizenship. (Aliens without the national ties must have resided for seven years.) MALAWI DUAL CITIZENSHIP: NOT RECOGNIZED.
Exception: Child born abroad, who obtains citizenship of country of birth, may maintain dual citizenship until age 21, when the person must renounce the other citizenship within one year or Malawian citizenship will be revoked. A citizen of Malawi, age 22 or older, who obtains new citizenship through other than voluntary means (for example, marriage) has one year to declare a desire to retain Malawian citizenship or it will be revoked.
MALAWI LOSS OF CITIZENSHIP:
VOLUNTARY: Voluntary renunciation of Malawian citizenship is permitted by law. Contact the Embassy for details and required paperwork. INVOLUNTARY: The following are grounds for involuntary loss of naturalized or registered Malawian citizenship:
Person exercises rights or privileges of another country.Citizenship was obtained through fraud or false statements.
Person has been arrested and imprisoned within seven years of citizenship.
Person has shown disloyalty or treason against Malawian government.
Person has been resident outside Malawi for seven years or more without proper registration with Consulate.
President Mutharika orders Justice Minister Tembenu to work on long awaited dual Citizenship Legislation
Dual Citizenship is a “status long sought by Malawi diaspora but was not recognized in the law” until now it may be soon be as it is being reported that Malawi President Dr. Peter Mutharika has asked Justice Minister Samuel Tembenu to draft legislation that would allow Malawians to have dual Citizenship.
The Malawi President himself a byproduct of the Diaspora has always understood the need for Diaspora to enjoy the Benefits such a status provides.
According to reporting, Malawi President Peter Mutharika told the state controlled Malawi Broadcasting Corporation that the ministry of Justice is currently working on the legislation which will enable Malawians hold dual citizenship.
The President said he will deliver on the promise he made in Parliament and also when he addressed Malawians in DC during the first few months of his Presidency. Peter Mutharika If successful will be the one President to deliver after many before him promised but never followed through.
“We are currently drafting the legislation, very soon we will have the legislation. This will be possible because we want Malawians in diaspora to come to Malawi,” he said.
On the country’s economy, President Mutharika said although the kwacha has stabilized, the inflation and high interest rates remain high.
“We are working on these,” said Mutharika.
He could however not give a definite answer as to when exactly the economy is expected to be back on his feet.
However, he said the government is luring more investors as way of giving dosage to the sick economy so that it can recover.
The Advantages of Dual Citizenship
Benefits and privileges. Dual citizens can receive the benefits and privileges offered by each country. For example, they have access to two social service systems, can vote in either country and may be able to run for office in either country, depending on the law. They are also allowed to work in either country without needing a work permit or visa and can attend school in either country at the citizen tuition rate.Dual citizens enjoy certain benefits, such as the ability to live and work freely in two countries, own property in both, and travel between the countries with relative ease. There are drawbacks, however, including the potential for double taxation, the long and expensive process for obtaining dual citizenship, and the fact that you become bound by the laws of two nations.
Because dual citizenship is complex and the rules and laws regarding citizenship vary from one country to the next, be sure to consult with qualified experts, including tax accountants and experienced citizenship lawyers
For now, many in the Diaspora are relieved that President Peter Mutharika has started to follow through on a promise he made to the Diaspora upon assuming the Presidency