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Friday, 20 June 2008

Dual Citizenship - Part 2 : On security and globalisation....

Gershom Ndhlovu reflects on dual citizenship, an ex-general's concern and Zambia in a globalised world :

It appears that the issue of dual citizenship is taking centre stage in the current constitution making process with erstwhile army commander and Vice President Christon Tembo and Immigration Department Chief Ndiyoyi Mutiti expressing security concerns if the provision is included in the new constitution.

One would understand the background Lieutenant-General Christon Tembo is coming from as head of the Zambia Army at the height of not only the one party state but at the time when Zambia faced apartheid South Africa as an enemy.

At that time, the country housed freedom fighters whom it had to protect by any means as they risked being smoked out, if that is the phrase, by the white South African soldiers.

Politically, the African continent was very unstable then with coups and counter coups being the norm and as a result undemocratic leaders of the time shut out of power not only citizens within the country but more importantly the “enemy” was seen to be one with foreign connections.

The government at the time thought that denying people dual citizenship was the solution. Unfortunately, it is this mindset that has been carried forward when the political state in Zambia in particular and Africa in general, has changed.

In the case of Mutiti, her fear for someone with dual citizenship committing a crime in one country and running away to another just shows “thought ossification” in the Zambian civil service. She should know about Interpol which does a great job of tracking criminals around the world.

Ms Mutiti should suggest to government to sign extradition treaties with countries where there would be a prevalence of dual citizenship for ease of tracking down criminals who would try to hide in other countries.

It appears General Tembo, Ms Mutiti and other politicians and civil servants do not understand the concept of globalisation even as they use it at public forums.

The World Bank describes globalisation as an inevitable phenomenon in human history that has been bringing the world closer through the exchange of goods and products, information, knowledge and culture.

“But over the last few decades, the pace of this global integration has become much faster and dramatic because of unprecedented advancement in technology, communications, science, transport and industry,” the World Bank states on one of its websites.

With the advancement of information and communication technologies (ICTs), some of the things an old soldier of General Tembo’s mould would hold dear, like the personnel and material capacity of his army, can easily be found with the click of the button on a computer.

A simple search on Google Earth would easily give one the coordinates of sensitive infrastructure of a country. As such, General Tembo’s fears become not only unfounded, but unreasonable.

Globalisation, ICTs and Google Earth aside, one wonders how developed countries which otherwise would have a lot to lose by allowing dual citizenship, sensibly grant dual citizenship while poorer countries always think about security and crime as a way of denying those wishing to acquire dual citizenship.

In most cases, there is a genuine reason for one wanting dual citizenship rather than the thought of committing a crime in one country and running off to another.

Like others have argued, there are children of Zambians born outside the country who only know Zambia in name but have more in common with the country of their birth. These children, for atavistic reasons, want to hold on to the citizenship of their parents while also enjoying the citizenship of their countries of birth.

NCC members debating the issue of dual citizenship should not be swayed by “has been” politicians and civil servants whose understanding of globalisation and ICTs is minimal and have unfounded fear as to why this should not be included in the constitution.

What the NCC members should bear in mind is that Zambia stands to gain once dual citizenship is allowed because such citizens will easily be moving resources between countries.

1 comment:

  1. little detail

    one wonders how developed countries which otherwise would have a lot to lose by allowing dual citizenship, sensibly grant dual citizenship while poorer countries always think about security and crime as a way of denying those wishing to acquire dual citizenship

    There are about 70 countries that prohibit dual citizenship, some more strictly than others. And even more that discourage it.

    AD Andorra
    AE the United Arab Emirates
    AM Armenia
    AO Angola
    AZ Azerbaijan
    BE Belgium
    BH Bahrain
    BI Burundi
    BN Brunei Darussalam
    BS the Bahamas
    BT Bhutan
    BW Botswana
    CD the Democratic Republic of the Congo
    CG the Republic of the Congo
    CM Cameroon
    CN the People's Republic of China
    CU Cuba
    DJ Djibouti
    DK Denmark
    DZ Algeria
    EE Estonia
    ET Ethiopia
    FM the Federated States of Micronesia
    GA Gabon
    GM the Gambia
    GN Guinea
    GQ Equatorial Guinea
    GW Guinea-Bissau
    GY Guyana
    ID Indonesia
    IN India
    IQ Iraq
    JP Japan
    KE Kenya
    KG Kyrgyzstan
    KI Kiribati
    KR the Republic of Korea
    KW Kuwait
    KZ Kazakhstan
    LA the Lao People's Democratic Republic
    LR Liberia
    LS Lesotho
    LY the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
    MC Monaco
    MH the Marshall Islands
    MM Myanmar
    MW Malawi
    MY Malaysia
    MZ Mozambique
    NE Niger
    NP Nepal
    NR Nauru
    OM Oman
    PG Papua New Guinea
    PW Palau
    QA Qatar
    RW Rwanda
    SA Saudi Arabia
    SB the Solomon Islands
    SD Sudan
    SG Singapore
    SL Sierra Leone
    ST Sao Tome and Principe
    SZ Swaziland
    TM Turkmenistan
    TZ the United Republic of Tanzania
    UA Ukraine
    UG Uganda
    UZ Uzbekistan
    VE Venezuela
    VU Vanuatu
    YE Yemen
    ZM Zambia
    ZW Zimbabwe

    Add to that the countries that prohibit it in general but allow it in exceptionnal situation:

    AF Afghanistan
    AR Argentina
    AT Austria
    BA Bosnia and Herzegovina
    BO Bolivia
    CL Chile
    CZ the Czech Republic
    DE Germany
    DO the Dominican Republic
    EC Ecuador
    ES Spain
    FJ Fiji
    GT Guatemala
    HT Haiti
    IR the Islamic Republic of Iran
    IS Iceland
    KP the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
    LK Sri Lanka
    LT Lithuania
    LU Luxembourg
    LV Latvia
    MD the Republic of Moldova
    MG Madagascar
    MR Mauritania
    NA Namibia
    NI Nicaragua
    NL the Netherlands
    NO Norway
    PA Panama
    SC Seychelles
    SI Slovenia
    TH Thailand
    TO Tonga
    VN Viet Nam
    WS Samoa

    Not only this is more than half of the world in general but
    there's a lot of develloped countries in that list, almost half of OECD is there (Japan, germany, Spain, Norway, Korea...). And some would have been part of that list a few years ago (like Sweden that eased up its stringent laws in 2001).

    And the fact that India and China are able to use the potential of their diaspora while banning dual-citizenship should also say something.

    But yeah, that sentence was wrong.


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