Chinamasa says No change to citizenship law

JUSTICE Minister Patrick Chinamasa has ruled out changes to the country’s citizenship laws following Zanu PF’s landslide victory in last week’s elections.

With the parties to the outgoing government giving conflicting interpretations of the relevant provisions in the country’s new constitution, it had remained unclear whether dual citizenship was now legal under the new charter.

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Clarity over the issue was only provided by the Constitutional Court when it ordered the registrar general to restore businessman, Mutumwa Mawere’s citizenship. Mawere also holds South African citizenship.

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Zanu PF had opposed dual citizenship during negotiations to craft the new constitution in the run-up to last Wednesday’s elections and hinted it would effect changes to the charter if it won the vote.

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However, Chinamasa told South Africa-based online business publication, Moneyweb, that while Zanu PF would make minor changes to the constitution, the citizenship laws would not be altered.

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“A lot of legislation under the old constitution will be in conflict with the current constitution and will need to be aligned,” he added.

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A provision in the new constitution Mugabe signed into law in March limiting presidents to two terms in office would also remain.

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“That is untouchable,” Chinamasa said.

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The new government would however strengthen and clarify empowerment laws which compel foreign companies to cede 51% of local assets to Zimbabweans or the government in a bid to win investment.

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“I would want to see clarity on the rules of the game so they can decide to come or stay home,” Chinamasa said in reference to investors.

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“We need to engage with the investors. Let’s be clear so there is no equivocation.”

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Zanu PF defeated the Movement for Democratic Change in polls that party leader and outgoing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said were manipulated.

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The US, UK, and European Union questioned the credibility of the polls, while the African Union and 15-nation SADC grouping found the vote to be “free and peaceful.”

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Mugabe, 89, secured 61% of the vote in the presidential poll to extend his 33-year rule.