Wednesday, March 10, 2010

By Khumbulani Maphosa (Media and Publications Officer)

Participants at the Habakkuk Trust sector meeting organised for non-citizens/aliens have underscored the need for the new constitution to realise the importance of dual citizenship and provide it to its citizens.

Contributing during the proceedings of the meeting, participants noted that some of them were born in Zimbabwe and they know nothing of their ancestral countries and therefore they should be accorded Zimbabwean citizenship. They said dual citizenship would make it easy for children of aliens to be realized as Zimbabwean citizens and have full enjoyment of human rights in their country of birth.

Mr G. Moyo an educationist by profession bemoaned the rampant discrimination and disrespect of human rights in the country, based on ethnic lines. He said most descents of Malawi and Zambia are treated as second-class citizens in Zimbabwe, which ironically is their country of Birth. He therefore demanded that ‘aliens should get equal rights and enjoy equal rights and privileges as other citizens.’
He further challenged the use of derogatory and discriminatory terms used in the country’s national documents, terms such as ‘extra territorial students’ for non-citizen students, and ‘aliens’ which is used in the national Identity cards referring to those not of Zimbabwean origin.
Commenting on the same issue Mrs S. Sakala suggested that ‘kungathini ukuthi bafake ilizwe engivela kulo kulokuthi u Alien?’ (Why can’t they indicate my country of origin instead of using the word alien?). Other participants also suggested the use of acronyms such as NC or FC (Non-Citizen and Foreign Citizen respectively) instead of Alien.
Participants also stressed the need for non-citizen children to be accorded equal educational opportunities with local students. They therefore called for the scrapping of the additional foreign levy that they pay in schools and ensuring that their students are also awarded scholarships.

The Habakkuk Trust Constitutional Sector meetings continue today (05 March 2010) with a sector meeting for all the political parties operating in the Matabeleland Region.

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