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Mawere wins dual citizenship case
By Violet Gonda
SW Radio Africa
26 June 2013
Zimbabwean-born businessman Mutumwa Mawere has won a landmark ruling on dual citizenship, that will have implications for tens of thousands of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora. The ruling also has far reaching implications for the electoral processes that are currently underway in the country.
Mawere, who is a South African by naturalisation, took legal action in the Constitutional Court earlier this month after he was told by Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede he’d have to renounce his South African citizenship before he could apply for identification documents and a passport.
But the court ruled Wednesday that it was unlawful for Mudede to deny Mawere the documents on the grounds that he also had foreign citizenship.
Speaking to SW Radio Africa shortly after the judgement Mawere said the Court ruled that dual citizenship is permissible under the new constitution. “The court declared me a Zimbabwean citizen not withstanding that I am also a South African citizen.”
He said this is a triumph for the thousands of Zimbabweans living abroad, who have been affected by ‘state actors’ who abuse the law for political gain. “The court decision cannot be appealed, unless Mudede goes to SADC,” Mawere joked.
The ruling means dual citizenship is not prohibited to those who are citizens by birth. The constitution sets out different classes of citizenship rights and an Act of parliament may limit citizenship by descent or by registration.
Mudede has in the past defied court orders but Mawere will be visiting the registrar general’s office on Thursday to apply for identity documents so he can participate in the voter registration process.
He said unfortunately this also means that this has left him, and others in the same situation, with little time if he wanted to participate in electoral processes such as the nomination court that sits on Friday. Furthermore Mawere was unable to get identification to allow him to participate fully in the voter registration that is currently underway. “This means that we may have to go to court to be given the same 30 days that is contemplated in the constitution,” Mawere said.