REGISTRAR-General Tobaiwa Mudede has been slammed for insinuating government would seek to amend the Constitution in a bid to circumvent the issue of dual citizenship as guaranteed in the country’s governance charter.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
In a statement the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) described Mudede’s utterances as “disturbing”.
“While addressing a Zanu PF Parliamentary Caucus at the party’s headquarters on Wednesday May 10, 2017, Mudede reportedly all but rubbished the constitutional provisions on dual citizenship, vowing to amend them rather than align the Citizenship Act with the supreme law.
“ZimRights is disturbed both by the Registrar-General’s utterances and their setting, given that they were said at a party meeting, brazenly revealing the public official’s partial and highly politicised conduct to his government duties,” the rights watchdog said.
The controversial Mudede has been dragged into the ruling party’s electoral malpractices including allegations of electoral fraud over the years. ZimRights said Mudede’s remarks were a reflection of the government attitude towards human rights and the rule of law.
“Mudede’s revelations plainly expose why the government has delayed, four years down the line after the adoption of the Constitution, implementing the constitutional provisions to do with dual citizenship, in particular, and the Constitution itself, in general,” the group said.
President Robert Mugabe’s administration has been accused of dragging its feet on the issue of reforms particularly those related to elections and the general political rights of citizens following the adoption of a new Constitution in 2013.
“It appears that the government of the day has deliberately chosen to ignore constitutional provisions that it is not comfortable with, while awaiting an opportunity to bring in amendments to the Constitution in a way that brings the entire reluctant approach to the alignment of laws into question.
“The continued opposition to dual citizenship by the government is a violation of constitutionally-guaranteed human rights and insensitive to the context of Zimbabwe and its big Diaspora population,” ZimRights said.
ZimRights added that millions of Zimbabweans forced into exile by a debilitating economic social and political crisis would want to maintain their status as citizens.
“That the Registrar-General already talks of amending Sections 36, 37 and 43 of the Constitution before even any alignment of the Citizenship Act is to treat the supreme law of the country with high-handed and unmistakable contempt,” the statement said.
Official statistics show that over 300 laws will need to be aligned to the Constitution and the government, instead of targeting all toxic parts in all laws, has adopted an “omnibus” approach that critics say tends to leave gaping holes in many statutes that do not conform to the supreme law of the land.