Parties from across Zimbabwe’s political divide have allayed fears that provisions in the new draft constitution that allows for dual citizenship could result in Chinese and other nationals that have flooded the country taking over the economy.
Such fears had emerged from last Thursday’s public debate on dual citizenship organised by the Mass Public Opinion Institute in Harare.
Panellists included Copac co-chairman Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T), Qhubani Moyo, director of research and policy formulation in the MDC, and Roseline Hanzi from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
According to the new draft charter, Zimbabweans can now enjoy dual citizenship automatically if they are Zimbabweans by birth, while leaving the rights to dual citizenship by descent and registration to an Act of Parliament.
Participants raised concerns over the possibility of Chinese nationals being accorded Zimbabwean citizenship.
“If we allow dual citizenship to happen and with the inflow of the Chinese into the country, are we not going to have problems whereby they start having economic power and marrying black girls in order to attain citizenship,” said one participant.
Mwonzora, however, argued that even without dual citizenship, the Chinese population was swelling by the day.
“The law as it stands does not prohibit the Chinese from coming into this country – it allows them to come and have a choice if they want to settle.
“Under the new constitution, they will have all rights and obligations and can even be voted for if they renounced their Chinese citizenship. If there is no dual citizenship, it does not hurt foreigners, it hurts Zimbabweans,” said Mwonzora.
Moyo said it was not fair for Zimbabweans to complain about “invasion” of foreigners in the country as there were more than three million Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora.
“The issue is not so much about outsiders taking wealth from Zimbabweans, but even amongst ourselves we should be able to share wealth equally and not along partisan or tribal lines,” said Moyo.