Dual citizenship in Africa: ‘Benefits outweigh disadvantages’

Published: 29/Jan/2019
Source: Deutsche Welle

Dual citizenship is illegal in a number of African countries. Authoritarian leaders regard people with a second nationality as potentially dangerous with their “foreign” ideas, analysts say.

Several African countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tanzania and Ethiopia, reject dual nationalities for their citizens. In these countries the fear of people with two citizenships seems to be acute.

There are a number of African heads of state and high-ranking politicians who have dual citizenship themselves or roots in another country. Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed is a citizen of Somalia and the United States. Liberia’s former head of state Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has German and Liberian roots. Moise Katumbi, a leading DRC opposition politician, was an Italian citizen for 17 years. For this reason he was banned from running in the 2018 presidential election.

Pride or politics?

While the DRC does not recognize dual citizenship, an exception is made for children born abroad. They are allowed to keep both nationalities until they come of age at 21. Then they have a year to renounce one of their citizenships. An Ethiopian law of 1930 stipulates that Ethiopians acquiring another nationality will cease to be Ethiopians. Foreigners who want to become Ethiopians need to prove that they’ve already renounced or are able to renounce their original citizenship.

Tanzania also does not allow dual citizenship. In 2007, Tanzanian Foreign Minister Bernard Membe presented a report which recommended an amendment to this law. But the government argued that such a change represented a threat to peace, security and the Tanzanian population’s livelihood.

Read further: https://www.dw.com/en/dual-citizenship-in-africa-benefits-outweigh-disadvantages/a-47276279

Themes: Dual Nationality
Regions: Pan Africa
Year: 2019