18 January 2013

Zambia: North Delegates Reject Dual Citizenship Clause

Delegates to the Northern Province Constitution Convention in Kasama have rejected dual citizenship.

DELEGATES to the Northern Province Constitution Convention in Kasama have rejected the clause in the first Draft Constitution which allows for dual citizenship.

Opposing the clause, Mporokoso District medical officer Tresphord Mulenga said a person with dual citizenship would have divided loyalties and that Zambians should be identified with prosperity or woes of their country.

Dr Mulenga said a patriotic person needed to be identified with only one Republic because if issues of national importance arose, it would be difficult for a dual citizenship holder to offer allegiance.

However, Catholic cleric Lombe Bwalya, from Kaputa Parish, said dual citizenship was becoming common in an increasingly interconnected global economy.

Father Bwalya said different countries were now seeing the advantages of dual citizenship and were liberalising their citizenship laws.

The Luapula Province Convention has maintained the dual citizenship clause amid arguments from some delegates including Chief Government spokesperson Kennedy Sakeni that the clause should be rejected on patriotic and nationalist grounds.

Labour Deputy Minister Ronald Chitotela said dual citizenship would make it difficult to extradite Zambians who committed crimes if they moved to other countries.

Other delegates, including former minister in the MMD, Mwansa Mbulakulima argued that it was important for Zambia to give citizenship to Zambians living in the diaspora to enable them to work in other countries.

In Muchinga, delegates upheld the death penalty article as contained in the First Draft Constitution.

The delegates reached a tie before going into a secret ballot with 71 votes cast to retain the death penalty and 21 against the provision.

Seven people did not vote.

The delegates retained Article 28 sub-section 3 which states that a person might be deprived of life if that person had been convicted of a capital offence and sentenced to death.

Other articles in the first Draft Constitution that were overwhelmingly retained were Freedom of Persons, Protection from Inhuman Treatment, Security of Persons, Protection of Privacy of Persons, Home and Property, and Communication and Freedom of Religion and Conscience.

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