Namibia: Government caves in on dual citizenship

Published: 16/Oct/2008
Source: The Namibian (Windhoek)

A FULL bench of the High Court was this week robbed of a chance to authoritatively settle continuing differences in opinion over the legality of dual citizenship in Namibia.

A full bench of the court, made up of Judge President Petrus Damaseb, Judge Collins Parker and Acting Judge John Manyarara, was ready on Monday to hear arguments in a case in which a Windhoek lawyer, Phillip Barnard, was taking on the Minister of Home Affairs on the issue whether people who are Namibian citizens by birth can at the same time also be citizens of another country.

But the case between Barnard and the Minister was settled just before its scheduled hearing, with the settlement agreement made an order of the court. Having been informed that the case was no longer going to be fought out in court, the Judge President remarked that the three judges who were set to hear arguments in what they considered to be a very important case had already put in a lot of effort in doing research for the hearing and in preparing a draft judgement, only to be informed shortly before the hearing that the case had been settled. He also emphasised, though, that the settlement did not mean that the court had taken a decision on any of the issues that were at stake in the case, and that these might still have to be decided by a court at some point in the future. If the case had proceeded, it would have given the High Court only its second opportunity to make a ruling on the legality of dual citizenship under Namibian law. In a landmark ruling on this issue handed down in the High Court on July 2 this year, former High Court Judge Gerhard Maritz and Judge Sylvester Mainga agreed that people who are Namibian citizens by birth or descent can also hold the citizenship of another country.

Read on AllAfrica website: Namibia: Govt Caves in on Dual Citizenship

Themes: Dual Nationality
Regions: Namibia
Year: 2008