Zimbabwe: Registrar General of Citizenship and Another v. Todd (SC 101/02)

Published: 13/Nov/2002
Source: Supreme Court of Zimbabwe

((58/02)) [2002] ZWSC 101

Civil Appeal No. 158/02

Judgment No. SC 101/02

CHIDYAUSIKU CJ: The first appellant refused to renew the respondent’s Zimbabwean passport because, according to him, the respondent had failed to renounce her entitlement to New Zealand citizenship, which entitlement, he alleges, is derived from the New Zealand Citizenship Act.

The respondent successfully applied in the High Court for an order compelling the first appellant to issue a passport to her. The first appellant was dissatisfied with that decision and noted an appeal to this Court.

At the hearing of this matter the appellants applied for a postponement to enable them to place before the Court expert evidence on the law of New Zealand on citizenship. They tendered the wasted costs. The respondent opposed the application, essentially on the ground that the appellants have had ample time to secure such evidence and there was need for finality in this case.

It is quite apparent from the record that New Zealand does have a Citizenship Act. It is this Citizenship Act that really determines the status of the respondent vis-à-vis New Zealand. If the respondent, in terms of the New Zealand Citizenship Act, is a citizen of New Zealand then, in terms of s 9 of the Zimbabwe Citizenship Act [Chapter 4:01] (the Act), she has to renounce the citizenship of New Zealand or lose her Zimbabwean citizenship. If, in terms of the New Zealand Citizenship Act, the respondent is merely entitled to citizenship of New Zealand, as opposed to being a citizen, then the issue before this Court is whether the respondent is required, in terms of s 9 of the Act, to renounce that entitlement or lose Zimbabwean citizenship. The court a quo resolved that issue in favour of the respondent and the appellants now appeal against that judgment.

In my view, the critical issue is the status of the respondent in terms of the New Zealand Citizenship Act and not the Registrar General’s interpretation of that Act, which could be correct or incorrect. The Court can only determine the respondent’s status upon examination of the New Zealand Citizenship Act. That Act has to be placed before the Court.

Read further on ZIMLII: https://www.zimlii.org/zw/judgment/supreme-court/2002/101

Themes: Dual Nationality, Loss and Deprivation of Nationality
Regions: Zimbabwe
Year: 2002