Botswana: Citizenship Appeal Cases Common in Border Villages

Siviya — The Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, Mr Ngaka Ngaka, says appeals on citizenship issuance are common in villages along the border.

Addressing a kgotla meeting in Siviya in North East District, Mr Ngaka said some residents faced challenges when applying for citizenship for their children who were born of dual nationalities.

He stated that it was common that Batswana from those villages had children with foreign nationals.

Mr Ngaka stressed that it should be noted that a child born by a Motswana and a foreigner qualified for dual citizenship, however, that child was required by law to renounce one of the two nationalities upon turning 21 years.

The minister stated that many Batswana still failed to exercise this law because they did not visit the civil and national registration office when they reached 21 years.

Mr Ngaka said such cases where the child was born of a Motswana and a foreigner, the child would be issued an Omang when she/he turns 16 years but the Omang would be valid for five years rather than the standard 10 years.

The minister stated that one of the common cases his ministry was dealing with was where women bear children with foreigners and the fathers abandon the child without leaving a trace.

Therefore, he said that made it difficult for the mother to trace the child's paternal roots becoming a challenge for that child to renounce.

Mr Ngaka said it was important for every foreign national living in Botswana, through a residence permit, to renew it before expiry date even if that individual had applied for citizenship.

He said one remained a foreigner in Botswana until citizenship had been granted contrary to some who believed once they applied for citizenship it was unnecessary to renew residence permit.

The minister highlighted that he had appointed a board that would assess all citizenship applications to investigate if they were genuine since some people exploited Batswana in order to get citizenship.

He stressed that the public should at all times furnish government officers with correct information for the perpetrators to be reprimanded.

On other issues, the minister said violence against women was increasing every year as women and girls were being murdered, raped and assaulted.

Mr Ngaka said it was upon residents to be alert of incidents of violence and report them to the relevant authorities.

Kgosi Louis Siviya said his village was experiencing challenges due to some of his people marrying in Zimbabwe and subsequently bearing children.

He said they were cases where a child mothered by a Motswana and a foreign father was born at home and did not have a birth certificate which made it difficult for that child to attend school.

Kgosi Siviya pleaded with the minister to install a temporary exit between Siviya and their neighbouring village on the other side in Zimbabwe adding that they have relatives there whom they wish to visit during events on weekends.

He said currently they had to travel close to 100 kilometres through Ramokgwebana border in order to see their relatives who were on the other side of the fence.

Councilor Bakani Badzili of Siviya thanked Siviya people for valuing Omang, noting that they always renewed and collected Omang on time.

He stated that people do renunciation well on time however it was the ministry that took time to carry out the process and issue certificates.

The councilor said children suffered while awaiting the renunciation process to be completed, adding that some had even lost jobs because they did not have proper documents.

Source : BOPA

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