Source: The Namibian (Windhoek)
by Okeri Ngutjinazo
HOME affairs minister Frans Kapofi last week said over 3 000 foreign nationals were granted Namibian citizenship from 2010 to 2016.
Kapofi revealed this in the National Assembly last Thursday when answering questions from Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) member of parliament Agnes Limbo.
He said the decision to grant Namibian citizenship to foreign nationals who have been living in the country from 1930 to 1977 was made by Cabinet in 2003 and 2010.
“Before independence, Namibia was a host too many foreign nationals, especially from our neighbouring countries, who came here due to various reasons. Most of these foreign nationals remained undocumented due to their inability to meet statutory requirements for the acquisition of citizenship,” he said.
He further stated that the ministry used to conduct mobile registrations throughout the country from time to time, with specific emphasis on the regions where most of these nationals were located.
However, due to financial challenges, the ministry has had problems sending the registration teams to various regions to carry out these exercises.
“Resources are really a constraint which we all have to bear with,” he noted.
From the years 2010 to 2016, mobile registration teams were sent out to cover the regions to register foreign nationals, which in total registered 3 012 eligible persons.
“The process of registration is still ongoing because there are some people who for one reason or another are still not registered, especially those who arrived in Namibia as from 1 January 1978 to 20 March 1990, a period which was not covered by the last Cabinet decision of 2010,” he said.
Kapofi added that most of the people are from Angola, and there are administrative and legal matters which the ministry still has to address.
“The aim is to eventually eliminate a problem of stateless people living in our country,” he stated.
The ministry has encountered a number of challenges, such as some applicants not having proof that they have been living in Namibia since 1930 or 1978.
Such proof would be a South West Africa identity document, permanent residence permit, or any other form of proof to support their claims before the registering officials.
“This particular effort is exacerbated by certain individuals who may have arrived in Namibia after independence, but now want to take advantage of the exercise,” he added.