Harare, June 25, 2014 -The Constitutional Court has endorsed a Zimbabwean citizen’s unrestricted entitlement to dual citizenship rights and ordered the Registrar General, Minister of Home Affairs, Attorney General and the Principal Director of Immigration to comply with the law.
In endorsing the dual citizenship law which came into force following the adoption of the new constitution’s provisions, the full bench of the Constitutional Court has upheld an application by Farai Daniel Madzimbamuto seeking to compel the Principal Director of Immigration to endorse his South African passport with unrestricted and indefinite residence permit.
Madzimbamuto, who was represented by Jane Wood had approached the highest court in the land aggrieved that as a Zimbabwean citizen by birth, he was regarded as an alien in terms of the immigration regulations and compelled to apply for a residence permit as all holders of foreign passports.
The appellant is a holder of a South African passport by virtue of one of his parents being a South African descendent and his Zimbabwean passport had expired while he was in the United Kingdom where he was referred to Harare for a renewal.
He returned but failed to secure a new passport owing to the chaotic situation at the passport office and he returned to the UK where he was issued with a South African passport.
In 2012, he returned to Zimbabwe permanently and upon presenting his South African passport to immigration officials he was advised to apply for a residence permit and was issued with a 2-year permit.
When the new constitution was promulgated he approached immigration requesting for the endorsement of a permanent residence status on his South African passport after advising them that he was now a holder of a Zimbabwean passport.
The officials did not respond compelling him to approach the court.
In its ruling, the court said Madzimbamuto was entitled to dual citizenship which is inherent in his birth right as a citizen and he must also enjoy the right to freedom of movement.
The court added that to deny him the right to freely enter Zimbabwe and leave the country on the grounds that he has presented a foreign passport would be to deprive him the fundamental rights guaranteed by the supreme law of the land.