This reads and I quote: “XVIII-i: A citizen shall not lose citizenship by acquiring the citizenship of another country; and XVIII-ii: A citizen who, before the commencement of this Constitution, acquired the citizenship of another country and, as a result, ceased to be a citizen shall be entitled to apply to the Citizenship Board of Zambia to regain that citizenship”
This is not new.
It is what we have been recognising for centuries through tribal routes. Before Zambia became a country it had kingdoms or enclaves with traditional leaders who accepted dual citizenship because in many occasions they had to inter marry to keep sanity and community development.
As a landlocked country bordered by eight countries it is natural that this tradition continues into modern times and cannot be stopped by demarcations created superficially by the colonisers of Africa.
Indeed, traditionally land locked countries like Zambia, such as Switzerland, Luxemburg, and Austria with dual citizenships have always recognised and encouraged recognition of their citizens through Jus soli (Latin for right of territory) means you are a citizen of say Switzerland because you were born there; or Jus sanguinis (right of blood) which means you are a citizen because one or both of your parents are, through birth; and the third is through a successful completion of the naturalization process. We have for Centuries recognised similar dual citizenship through our traditions and it is the right time to revive those traditions.
If I was born three centuries ago in Central Africa, I would have been recognised to possess multi-citizenships as a Chewa (Jus sanguinis) through my father, as a Bemba (Jus sanguinis) through my mother and as a Lamba (Jus soli) since I was born in Mufulira and just being a Mufken. Thanks to Dr Kenneth David Kaunda the first Republican President of the Republic of Zambia who saw the necessity to encourage and promote this in modern times. The results are there for all to see in terms of being the only country in Africa that has never experienced war and that has true democracy yielding a more cohesive national identity of Zambia.
This must continue and must be inscribed in the pages of the Republic of Zambia Constitution so that every citizen in the country or in Diaspora feels to be part of Zambia. Remember that those in Diaspora did not voluntarily leave the country; they were pushed out due to lack of opportunities and lack of employments they were trained for.
The world has now shrank into a global culture and economy. For this reason many countries are now endorsing dual citizenships. The results are colossal in terms of economic development. Let us name a few of these countries Austria, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Cyprus, Dominica, Egypt, El Salvador, Finland, France, Ghana, Germany, Grenada, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Jordan, South Korea, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Montenegro, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Serbia, Spain (only in certain cases), South Africa (only in certain cases), Sri Lanka, St. Kitts & Nevis, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Turkey, United Kingdom, USA (only in certain cases), Vietnam and Western Samoa.
Can you associate these countries with consequences due to dual citizenship? Can you see that by having more citizens these countries have lost out on the employment front because the foreigners have taken those jobs?
In my eyes and I believe in yours too, I see development, low poverty rate, collective riches, pure prosperity, technological advances, literate upbringing and above all excellent governance. Dual Citizenship has helped many of the countries in the list to develop far more quickly than they would have done otherwise. Let us take some examples:
(i) Israel – ranked fourth in the world in scientific activity and a major player in high-tech industries. It designs and builds aeroplanes (Astra, Gulfstream, etc.).
It develops technologies for agriculture so that high yields can be harvested in the desert sand (while we have failed despite having good soil). All these advancements are due to transfer of technology by its dual citizens working overseas and helping their motherland. As a result thousands of jobs are created by the dual nationals; (ii) Switzerland – a country that is topologically similar to Zambia in all respects. It is very technologically advanced, has the highest GDP thanks to its dual nationals which it encourages for a simple reason that dual nationality brings home free technology transfer; (iii) Ghana – a country that has realised the economic benefits of dual citizenship through fostering trade and broadening investments opportunities. In the last ten years Ghana has seen its skill and expert population increase tremendously due to dual citizenship. Ghana’s dual citizens have set up shops in their country by developing roads, housing, building machineries, developing free medical care, utility facilities and many more. Thanks to the Ghanaian government that has welcomed dual nationals with open arms as they have brought with them free technology transfer and business acumen; (iv) Turkey – A country that has seen tremendous economic development since allowing its citizens to have dual citizenship. The Turkish nationals living in Germany make up 5% of Germans. They have over the years since they were allowed to have dual citizenship brought free technology transfer from Germany to Turkey. This has resulted in the boom of manufacturing goods in Turkey. Indeed, I have personally noticed this since the tractor I designed for a German company has also ended up being manufactured in Turkey.
The last Zambian government wanted to buy those tractors from Turkey. My question is why buy from Turkey when you can get free of charge the design of that same tractor from me. The other is manufacture of ambulances called in Zambia as mobile hospitals. I designed these for Germany many years ago. Chinese came and copied the mobile hospital which Zambia bought from China. They were so poorly copied that they are unreliable. Why can’t you come to me?
We must now cut the fat and eradicate the myths of dual citizenship. There are more benefits than problems. Dual nationality is truly the way forward to offer recognition to those who are sacrificing their time, knowledge and money to make their motherland prosperous. Research has shown that good investors are dual citizens and not strangers who sometime come with different agendas to milk as much as they can and leave the natives with no trousers.
The schemes used by Israel, Turkey, Switzerland and others that go into partnerships with the dual citizens has yielded real development and jobs. For every dual national there will be a hundred or more jobs created. This is good for Zambia which at the moment needs extra brains that have been exposed to the world. Endorsing dual citizenship should be viewed in terms of national development and as an economic strategic enhancement formula.
Globalization has noticeably changed perceptions on dual citizenship in many countries. Zambians living abroad contribute up to 10 percent of Zambian GDP through transfer of moneys. This is more comparable to what Zambia gets from the mines. It is time for Zambia to really embrace dual citizenship and take advantage of the vast talents, qualifications, skills, expertise and experiences of its own unrecognised nationals in Diaspora if true development will come to this sweet motherland.