by Tichaona Sibanda on March 5, 2013
By Tichaona Sibanda
5 March 2013
The abridged version of the draft constitution makes it clear that dual citizenship is automatically permitted in respect of Zimbabweans born in the country.
This contradicts several pronouncements by ZANU PF that there is no dual citizenship in the new constitution.
About 10,000 copies of the summarized English version of the draft have been distributed countrywide by COPAC, during their publicity awareness campaign for a Yes vote ahead of a referendum set for March 16th.
It is believed ZANU PF remains opposed to dual citizenship, fearful of the large numbers of diaspora-based Zimbabweans who would be constitutionally allowed to vote in future elections.
However exiled Zimbabweans would not be allowed to vote in the forthcoming poll because the country does not have the funding for it, according to the Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa.
Last month Chinamasa told the state media that there is no dual citizenship, and there will be no diaspora vote, a fact that may not be correct looking at the abridged version of the draft.
Douglas Mwonzora, the COPAC co-chairman for the MDC-T, said the issue of citizenship has been put to finality by ‘writing the shorter version of the draft in simple straightforward English and not in legal language.’
‘The longer version of the draft is written in legal language. The draft says the only citizenship which is limited is citizenship by descent or registration, otherwise citizenship by birth allows for dual citizenship is,’ said Mwonzora, adding ‘the constitutional drafters used legal language to craft the constitution.’
‘The only difference there is the style of writing but the meaning remains the same,’ he said, adding that the draft has been well received by people during their publicity campaigns.