Friday, 20 June 2008


By Gershom Ndhlovu

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.



I notice that the debate between Chief Moomba and Southern Province Minister Daniel Munkombwe on the one hand and Gender Minister Patricia Mulasikwanda on the other, over who owns land around Mulobezi is taking a different and worrying dimension.

One Yuyi K Libakeni in a letter to the Post wrote: “As a Nkoya tribesman, Moomba is traditionally a subject of the Litunga from whom he now wants to grab land…in defiance of established maps.”

As a journalist working on a state-owned newspaper in the early 1990s, I extensively covered the Nkoya-Lozi issue when the former where against the revival of the Barotseland Agreement which some Lozi people were agitating for.

The Nkoya at the time said that if the Lozi wanted the agreement revived, then the government should establish a province they wanted called Kafue Province so that they would not be part of “Barotseland” which they felt had been oppressive to them.

In their proposal, the Nkoya wanted the province so established to include Kaoma, Lukulu, parts of Mumbwa and parts of Kasempa and other places.

The genesis of the problem between the two ethnic groups is over a chieftaincy at Naliele in Kaoma where a Lozi prince who was sent there as a tax collector circa 1945, was made a senior chief over Nkoya chiefs Mwene Kahare and Mwene Mutondo.

The Nkoya argue how in other provinces, different ethnic groups have their own paramount and senior chiefs while in Western Province there is a perception that the Nkoya are subjects of other ethnic groups.

One thing for sure is that the Nkoya are a distinct ethnic group with their own language and culture very different from that of the Lozi but for some reason they are presented as a Lozi sub-group and their language a Lozi dialect.

For as long as authorities bury their head in the sand over this issue, the nation risks two ethnic groups rising against each other to address the historical injustices perpetrated against one group by the other.

People like Mulasikwanda should not just dredge desirable elements of history; they must go all the way so that they enlighten the nation on why the Lozis deceptively burnt Nkoya literature in 1966.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I dont know what sort of security issues Tembo and Mutiti are worried about. They should be more concerned with plunderers at all levels of our the general population than an individual who wants to keep the identity of his country of origin.Zambia is in a bottomless pit now because of the so called patriotic Zambia who to a great extent are very short sighted and are mere local heroes in this global village.
Developed countries are advanced because they have persued policies like dual citizenship,it has helped them tap the best talents on offer from all corners of the world.Its believed NASA has a top Zambian scientist in its ranks and there are a lot of other Zambians contributing to these developed economies.Only a fool can deny such people to identify with their country of origin.The only contribution such Zambians can make to zambia is sending cash to to their relatives through western union.No wonder Africans in the diaspora send well over $40 billion per annum but this only goes as far as consumption at family level.
The British are not concerned about what other citizenship i hold or how many,their concern is my contribution to the economy in terms of the services i can render and that i pay my taxes.
Asia has taken over a lot of manufacturing on behalf of the developed west,even services like call centres for big companies have moved over to india.This attraction has been as a result of little bureaucracy and investor freindly atmosphere, this has not only been a boost to their economies but has also provided jobs for the locals.
As a continent and Zambia especially has failed to do that,we have only managed to atract the chinese to come and establish resturants to cook nshima at Kamwala market-what a joke and we call them foreign investors and the foolish government offers them preferential treatment over locals.

Eric - UK