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Swazis with dual citizenship face arrest

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LOBAMBA – Swazis who possess dual citizenship could find themselves under arrest if found out.

Home Affairs Minister Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze has announced that it was illegal for Swazis to hold dual citizenship and declared that anyone who does this is breaking the law and is liable for arrest.

The minister was speaking in the House of Assembly yesterday afternoon. He was responding to a question posed by Lobamba Lomdzala MP Marwick Khumalo who wanted to know from the minister if he was comfortable with the fact that many Swazis enjoyed dual citizenship.

Responding, Gamedze said this was not allowed. He said Swazi immigration laws pronounced that for one to enjoy dual citizenship, he or she has to renounce the Swazi citizenship. The minister said he was aware that other countries allowed this but emphasised that it was illegal in Swaziland.

Nhlambeni MP Frans Dlamini wanted to know what would befall those discovered to enjoy dual citizenship while Matsanjeni MP Qedusizi Ndlovu asked about the status of children whose fathers were foreigners. Hhukwini MP Mkhululi Dlamini wondered if our law was in line with SADC and African Union (AU) protocols and conventions.
Appointee Mandla Dlamini suggested that government should engage their South African counterparts over the matter while Khumalo wanted the minister to quote the section that criminalises the act.


Gamedze quoted Section 49 of the country’s constitution read with Section 10 of the Immigration Act, which states that “a person can be deprived of Swaziland citizenship if found to have acquired citizenship of another country without having renounced Swazi citizenship first.”

The minister explained that it was currently difficult for government to deal with those who have acquired dual citizenship as they relied on a technicality whenever the state attempted to bring them to book. He said they often said they were South Africans, a status which allowed them to acquire any other citizenship including being Swazis.
He said government could not engage its South African counterparts over the matter because that country was a sovereign state and Swaziland could not be seen to be interfering with their domestic policies.

He, however explained that his office would consult with that of the Attorney General on which law could be used to bring those found to have dual citizenship to book.
On the issue of children born of foreign fathers, he said before the advent of the constitution, those children were classified as Swazis but after the constitution, they are foreigners unless their fathers do not claim them.
He then clarified that SADC and AU protocols only concerned issues of refugees and asylum seekers and does not bother on matters of migration.

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