Govt to scrap $40 aliens fee

HARARE – Government plans to scrap the $40 fee required by the Registrar-General’s office for aliens’ citizenship renunciation, Home Affairs deputy minister Obedingwa Mguni has told the National Assembly.

He was responding to a question without notice from Zanu PF Hurungwe East legislator Sarah Mahoka why government was making it difficult for aliens to get citizenship when the new Constitution recognises them as citizens.

“I know that the ministry of Finance came up with Statutory Instrument 2009 which states that aliens will be charged and this was presented by the ministry of Finance and Home Affairs is merely implementing that,” Mguni said yesterday, adding that MPs should make sure that the Citizenship Act is aligned to the new Constitution.

The response drew the ire of Zanu PF MP for Zvimba West Ziyambi Ziyambi and MDC proportional representation legislator Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga.

“Section (2) of the Constitution... provides that any lay, practice, custom that is contrary and inconsistent with it is unconstitutional to the extent of its inconsistency but I am worried that as a people we have glorified this animal called alignment of the Constitution and I wonder why we are labouring on what is clearly unlawful,” Ziyambi said.

Misihairabwi-Mushonga on the other hand said the fact that aliens had Zimbabwean identity documents means that they are Zimbabweans whether by birth or descent.

With pressure mounting, Mguni backed down.

“I do not want to be seen to be violating the Constitution and I hear what the members’ concerns are so I am going to call a meeting as a matter of urgency so that as a ministry we consider these submissions,” Mguni said.

The move would ensure that dual citizenship and voting rights for formerly disenfranchised alien voters will be able to participate in next year’s general elections.

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