Zimbabwe: Registrar General of Citizenship v. Todd (SC 4/03)

Published: 26/Feb/2003
Source: Supreme Court of Zimbabwe

((58/02)) [2003] ZWSC 4

Civil Appeal No. 158/02

Judgment No. SC 4/03

MALABA JA: This is an appeal from a judgment of the High Court dated 7 May 2002 declaring that the respondent was a citizen of Zimbabwe and directing the appellant to renew her Zimbabwe passport within fourteen days of the submission by her of an application for such renewal. The appellant was ordered to pay the costs of the application which had been made by the respondent.

The facts of the case are these. The respondent was born in the then Southern Rhodesia on 18 March 1943. Her parents, Sir Reginald Stephen Garfield Todd and Lady Jean Grace Isabel Todd, were born in New Zealand on 13 July 1908 and 3 April 1911 respectively. They were citizens of New Zealand who came to this country as missionaries in 1943 and settled at Dadaya Mission where the respondent was born. She became a citizen of Zimbabwe by birth.

On 1 December 1984 the Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act [Chapter 4:01] (“the Act”) came into operation. The Act provided in s 9(1) that no citizen of Zimbabwe, who was of full age and sound mind was entitled to be a citizen of a foreign country. It was provided in s 9(7), as amended by s 3 of the Citizenship of Zimbabwe Amendment Act No 12 of 2001, that:

“A citizen of Zimbabwe of full age who –

(a) at the date of commencement of the Citizenship of Zimbabwe Amendment Act 2001, is also a citizen of a foreign country; or

(b) …shall cease to be a citizen of Zimbabwe six months after that date unless, before the expiry of that period, he has effectively renounced his foreign citizenship in accordance with the law of that foreign country and has made a declaration confirming such renunciation in the form of and manner prescribed.”

The form in which the declaration confirming the renunciation of the citizenship of the foreign country was to be made was prescribed in the Citizenship of Zimbabwe (Renunciation of Foreign Citizenship) Regulations 2001 (SI 217/01). The date of commencement of the Citizenship of Zimbabwe Amendment Act was 6 July 2001 and the period of six months thereafter was to expire on 6 January 2002.

It so happened that on a date not disclosed in the papers but before 6 January 2002, the respondent submitted an application to the appellant through the Bulawayo Office for the renewal of her Zimbabwe passport. The appellant, through his officers, refused to renew the passport, alleging that the respondent was a citizen of New Zealand by descent and demanded that she should renounce the foreign citizenship before her Zimbabwe passport could be renewed. The respondent vehemently denied that she was a citizen of New Zealand by descent, arguing that she could not renounce what she did not possess.

Read further on ZIMLII: https://www.zimlii.org/zw/judgment/supreme-court/2003/4

Themes: Dual Nationality, Loss and Deprivation of Nationality
Regions: Zimbabwe
Year: 2003