IPI condemns Zimbabwean government’s latest attempt to strip publisher of citizenship

Published: 4/Jan/2007
Source: International Press Institute (IPI)

According to information provided to the International Press Institute (IPI), Trevor Ncube, the publisher of the privately owned Zimbabwe Independent and Zimbabwe Standard, is facing renewed attempts to deny him Zimbabwean citizenship.

At present, Ncube is seeking a High Court order compelling the government to renew his application for citizenship after it was initially withdrawn. In the pleadings, Ncube argues that he is automatically entitled to citizenship because he has never held the passport of another country and by virtue of the fact that his father, who was born in Zambia, was also a Zimbabwean. The government contends that Ncube’s failure to renounce Zambian citizenship has led, under law, to the loss of his citizenship.

This is not the first time that Ncube has faced attempts to strip him of his citizenship. On 8 December 2005, a plainclothes officer of the Zimbabwean Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) confiscated Ncube’s passport. At the time, he was told that his passport was seized because his name appears on a list of 64 prominent businessmen, journalists, politicians, and activists.

Commenting on the case, IPI Director Johann P. Fritz said, “The attempt by the Zimbabwean government to strip Trevor Ncube of his nationality is a flagrant breach of customary international law under Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which clearly states that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality.

“By acting this way, the government is clearly seeking to build the foundations for an assault on Ncube’s newspapers that remain some of the last remaining forums for open and critical debate inside Zimbabwe.”

“This government appears determined to ensure that the only voice heard in Zimbabwe is its own. However, such a determination not only undermines all pretence at democracy in the country, it also displays a misunderstanding of the important role played by dissent and criticism,” Fritz added.

“With each media organisation closed, with each journalist constrained from practicing his profession, the Zimbabwean government is further isolating itself from debates and discussions that need to take place within a modern society.”

“I sincerely hope that the Zimbabwean courts, which in the past have shown a willingness to resist the actions of this present government, reject this latest cynical and presumptuous attempt to manipulate the rule of law in order to silence dissenters.”

Read on AllAfrica website.

Themes: Identity Documents, Loss and Deprivation of Nationality
Regions: Southern Africa, Zimbabwe
Year: 2007