Mutharika hints on dual citizenship for Malawi: Reviewing Citizenship Act

President Peter Mutharika has said government is pushing for the review of the Citizenship Act so that Malawians can start exploiting the benefits of dual citizenship.

Mutharika delivering a state of the nation address

Mutharika delivering a state of the nation address

Mutharika speaking when he opened parliament on Tuesday said the review of Citizenship Act will ensure government consider to allow Malawians to hold dual citizenship.

“Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the 2015/2016 fiscal year, Government will review the Citizenship Act in order to, among others, consider dual citizenship and eliminate discrimination based on gender,” said Mutharika, who had spent over 40 years in the Diaspora.

Mutharika is on record saying that in 1994 on the instruction from the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General he came up with a paper on dual nationality, but the issue was shelved when the then Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Wenham Nakanga, died a few months later.

Currently, Malawians who take up citizenship of other countries must relinquish their Malawian citizenship.

If legalized, dual citizenship will allow Malawians who become citizens of other countries to move back and forth between the two involved countries any time they want without going through the rigorous visa process.

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48 thoughts on “Mutharika hints on dual citizenship for Malawi: Reviewing Citizenship Act”

  1. Malindima says:

    I don’t see any significance in this. I have lived in diaspora for over 25 years and managed to invest in Malawi during this period. I have property, businesses and employ over 20 Malawians. I come home and stay as long as I want; no hussles at all. I also send money at home; have bank accounts there too.

    1. Kenkkk says:

      You can’t stay as long as you want if you hav a foreign passport. Only through corruption can you do so without being asked to renew or extend your visa/stay. Many Malawians in diaspora with foreign passports are given 30 days, then they have to renew their visa if they want to stay longer.

  2. Makwale says:

    A welcome development

  3. Dee Maxy says:

    What a wonderful man and a brilliant idea? Indeed this will help Mother Malawi as a nation in boosting up her economy due to forex. Even us as malawians will be free people when moving out of our own country to another country and coming back whenever we want without any problem. Let us bring Dual citizenship forward in support.

  4. Alfred says:

    I like the debate you guys, Zamadula, Kenkk and JohnM are doing here. It makes more sense. These are the kind of arguments that we should be writing on the comments and not just writing for the sake of writing.

    I for one, would go for dual citizenship. For example if a Malawian living in UK travels to Malawi, he will be free to stay in Malawi as long as he wishes, and thus he is more likely to spend more of his ‘hard earned’ pounds in Malawi. This will be translated in banks getting forex and people getting money into their own hands. I have friend wish south African citizenship but do not stay long in Malawi just because they do not want to go through the tiresome corrupt process of extending their stay.

    It may not provide the huge difference in the country’s economy but these are the little things that help the economy and people in the village.

  5. Daniel Phiri says:

    Good move. Now my sons can come home to Malawi and Reconnect with their ancestors roots

  6. Kenkkk says:

    Just look at Rupert Murdoch, the media and sports tycoon, originally Australian, then got USA citizenship, added British one as well- triple not dual citizenship for him. Look the whole world is benefitting from his vast business empire. Later on married a Chinese woman just to get into China market for his business then divorced her but his business is flourishing there as well.

    You never know some of our diaspora people could become very big in business now or in future, all for the benefit of malawi. Please stop these petty jealousies or short-sightedness!!! After all there are a lot of people in malawi who are richer than the diaspora people, so there is no need for this stupid opposition to dual citizenship. All some of you think is these people come with their dollars or pounds and when they change them to Kwachas, oooh my God they have millions!! Yes but they have also brought forex for their dear mother malawi. There mwaipedza import cover as Peter proudly tells us!!!

  7. Kenkkk says:

    I remember Kamuzu saying the colour of your skin is your passport. How true and wise our dear leader was on citizenship despite his poor human rights record!!!

  8. Amir says:

    Good idea why not…

  9. nsonga ciswe says:

    A good idea anyhow the foreign doctors and nurses working here in Malawi do get better incentives ,eg housing, transport, benefits, salary all better com paired to our our own boys girls men and women. Talking of those outside this country, pls it is not everyone who is living on hand to mouth. We got well trained malwians but bcoz of the system here , it stinks to come back. Those are the people who could be part of our staff here continuing and or establishing the innovation of the developments.our health care is gone to the drains.
    Ok

  10. CHEWA NATIONAL PARTY says:

    Tribal citizen sound better not fckn dual

  11. Empty and lacks substance. how many wl benefit from that mr? bola bingu man inu simungathe man…

  12. Charombanthu says:

    Zitithandiza chani za dual citizenship ife? Articulate real issues not these petty issues aimed at satisfying your own personal situations.

  13. Kanonono says:

    This can only be good to Indians who are fond of trying to be viewed as bona-fide citizens in each and every country they go to.

  14. tikhala says:

    If he really was in America all these years, why cant he speak with an ‘accent’ like Laz

  15. Tamanda Sauka says:

    I love this. Sometimes, one always think whether Malawi is your home. There are no jobs, limited professional and academic opportunities etc etc. Ndalama ndi yochepa. Graduate kumalipidwa ngati labourer

    I would be a happy person to have it

  16. musekanji palibe kanu says:

    this will benefit him and his children coz we all know he is an american citizen..when he retires he want to go back to the USA

  17. johnM says:

    Rubbish, this only aims at benefiting few individuals who are outside the country. How does this move benefit the 15 million people that are in Malawi? If someone has decided to take up citizenship of another country, he knows fully well our laws that he should relinquish Malawi citizenship. There is therefore no need for this law. I simply do not see the intended purpose of this proposal.

    1. Zamadula says:

      Sometimes it is better to research a subject before commenting. All progressive countries have dual citizenship laws, they would not have them if they were not beneficial.

      The 15 million Malawians will benefit in many ways. I’ll just mention two. Firstly there will be more investment and forex inflow since Malawians with dual citizenship will feel freer to save and invest in their country of birth without giving up their second citizenship. Countries such as Ghana actually have a department or ministry to coordinate diaspora affairs. Remittances from diaspora Africans exceed foreign aid and countries like Ghana have benefited a lot from increased remittances. Malawi lags far behind in this regard mainly because of not having dual citizenship law.

      Secondly we will benefit in sports. A footballer with Malawian roots but holding a foreign passport will be able to take up Malawian citizenship and play for the flames. At this year’s AFCON all West African teams had some players who had dual citizenship. Do you remember the case of Temeka Mkandawire? He was unable to play for Malawi because he had to renounce his British citizenship first.

      Dual citizenship is a win-win situation. Just imagine how our health sector will improve if the hundreds of Malawian doctors and nurses currently living in Europe will be in a position to come home and work during the harsh European winter? Let not jealousy cloud our judgement – the whole country will benefit with this change….

      1. johnM says:

        The reasons there are not many investments is due to the fact that Malawi’s economic environment is poor and Government policies are bad. Who would invest in a country whose Government bails out thieving party zealots, Mulli, that are indebted to a commercial bank? It has nothing to do with Malawi’s citizenship laws. Just for your information, one country which I know does not permit dual nationality, China, is the one that has received the largest inflow of Investment in recent years.

        As for Remittances, I do not think that a Malawian holding American citizenship or any other foreign citizenship is hindered from sending some the funds back home. The reasons Malawians in diaspora do not send funds back home is due to the fact that most of them hold menial jobs and they are unable to make ends meet over there.

        As for footballers, I do not see that as a good reasons for changing the country’s citizenship laws. You mean we should accept a footballer into our national team who was rejected by the country which he adopted? Had England selected Tamika Mkandawire, would he have thought of playing for the flames?

        Malawian doctors and nurses are not being hindered in anyway from coming back home to work in our hospitals. Every time I have gone to Kamuzu Central Hospital, I see a lot of young white and Asian doctors on duty there. If these white doctors are coming to work in Malawi for a short period or so, what is hindering the Malawian doctors and nurses or ex Malawian doctors and nurses from coming home to work?

        1. Kenkkk says:

          The fact remains my dear friend JohnM they are Malawians and they should not be denied their birth rights in their own country because of a piece of paper called passport.

          Most developed countries embrace dual citizenship because of the many economic, humane and social well-being advantages it brings. You will find most of the countries that refuse dual citizenship are more autocratic and extensively abuse human rights of their citizens, you have given a very good example of China. They think dual citizenship will eventually lead to the down fall of their autocratic govts.

          We should concentrate on the economic benefits of dual citizenship or diaspora compatriots. It is a known fact that Egypt cannot survive without the remittances from its diaspora people and you think such people should be denied dual citizenship?

          1. johnM says:

            Are you telling me that if someone relinquishes his Malawian citizenship, then he cannot send money back home? What stops ex-Malawians from sending money back home? I do not see that as an issue. Irrespective of one’s citizenship, one can still contribute to the economic wellbeing of the country. In Malawi, there are investments from South Africans, Indians, and others who are not Malawians. The fact that the Malawians diaspora is not contributing much to the country’s wellbeing is due to the fact that they are unable to and not because they have relinquished their citizenship. Most of them hold menial jobs thus they struggle to make ends meet over there. Its nothing to do with their citizenship.

            Secondly, I do not believe that the current citizenship act denies the people their birth right because they themselves decided to relinquish their citizenship by obtaining the citizenship of the country they migrated to. They were not forced. Mr. Muntharika stayed in the US for forty years yet he never obtained an American citizenship, he remained a Malawian. Now, if others opt to change their nationality, they should be satisfied with their choice.

          2. Kenkkk says:

            JohnM, please don’t mix things. Birthright and citizenship are not the same. My personal view is that Malawians in the diAspora cannot be denied their birthright simply becAuse they have taken citizenship of another state. Also as I understand Peter has or had USA citizenship but that is besides the point. They should be able to do whatever they want to do in malawi such as invest, build homes, businesses, etc without any obstacles of being labelled foreigners requiring permits, visas, etc.

            It is not about the type of jobs that the diaspora have abroad that affect their dual citizenship clamor and it is wrong to say most of Malawians in diaspora have menial jobs. Malawians in diaspora are no different from other Africans or Asians or philipinos in terms of jobs, there are professionals in nearly all job professions and there are others who are doing menial jobs of all sorts. All contribute significantly to the forex of malawi.

            Dual nationality or not, good jobs or not, they will still send money home but they should not be denied their birthright of being Malawians come what may.

            Would you deny your children or relatives in diaspora that right?

      2. Kenkkk says:

        They say Egypt’s economy depends on its diaspora people.

  18. Issa Kabudula says:

    Brothers when we need to comment on anything make sure you know the story netter than commenting on the sake of muli ndi nthawi and time to waste. Dual citizenship for us in Diaspora means a lot, when xenophobia is at its best – we are citizens who are not wanted by the people, now as a citizen am an enemy in foreign country, other African countries including my own country coz am no longer the citizen of my country.

    Dual citizen issue must be tabled with good faith and accept us to have this acceptance back in our home countries, its unfortunate sometimes our leaders table laws which are too dangerous to its own citizens, am one of the citizen who will appreciate this development and wish every contributor the best of work.

    Malawi need people like Profesor APM to bring as many radical changes as possible to develop mother Malawi, its a coutry which need individuals who are sober and ready to share the ideas for it to develop – the members of parliament and ministers of his leadership, you are blessed to have this man at this right time – support the man and we can see Malawi become a product producer and not an import land locked as we are famous of.

  19. JOB MHAGAMA says:

    is what president is trying to say concerning with millitary traing for the youths he is right.

  20. M'doko says:

    Ndimaganiza kuti aziti tisamalore anthu chisawawa kuti akhale mbadwa kuti tingabetse dziko lathu labwinoli, koma ukhuluku basi!

  21. Zidura Ntengo Undigwere says:

    One wonders why this policy has not been reviewed by previous governments. As dual citizenship will mostly benefit Malawi, our most impoverished country. Beneficial in many ways. As for the holders of the dual citizenship, convenience will be the only benefit. Nothing else substantive. So, inu a jelasi, just sit down!
    Also it would be prudent to extend the privilege to children whom one or both parents are/were Malawians.

  22. Kingster Bella says:

    CHEERS MUTHARIKA!! THIS IS THE ONLY REASON I CAN VOTE FOR YOU..TOO MUCH IGNORANCE IN OUR SOCIETY. CAN’T SEE THE BENEFITS OF DUAL CITIZENSHIP..

  23. Watereka says:

    Mwina ndingapite ku harare ndikacheze ndi uncle bob

  24. For the benefit of who?

    1. Kenkkk says:

      Malawians benefit.

  25. mphevu says:

    Once born Malawian always will be Malawian. How can one Malawian deny a feloow Malawian citizenship. The second foreign citizenship is for convenience and work purposes. Birth citizenship is the genuine citizenship

  26. xmas says:

    On what basis? Here at home (Malawi), what I know is if your mum is from Nkhata Bay and father from Neno then you choose one and you register that as your home! Dual citizenship is not even practiced here at home! I have never heard that “the convict from such, such a village and such, such a village from this district and that district respectively has been convicted on …..” Only have I heard from one village and district! Ndiye Ntchonayu wabweranso ndi iti?

    1. Holyman says:

      Ngati sumadziwa wadziwa lfe ndi Amalawi amene timakhala kunja but zimatiwawa kwambiri tikati tidzaone makolo kumudziko akamatipatsa 30 days basi chosecho tikamati kwathu timakhala tikunena ku Malawi thank you Mr President for the brilliant ldea.

  27. Tili Chenene says:

    All Malawians expected this soon after 25 May. HE is mchona as well.

  28. Alpha says:

    This is a positive move. Let’s move forward. This is not just a DPP this, Malawians in Switzerland around June 2013 during an audience with H.E former President Joyce Banda at the Intercontinental hotel in Geneva, raised the issue. She urged it should be discussed in Parliament. Please, discuss and vote for it. It will benefit Malawi.
    Still, beware of fortune seekers!

    1. Khuth'upa o'Machemba says:

      So, why did your Joisi not act on this? Was she not convinced?

      1. Kenkkk says:

        She didn’t have enough time.

  29. Maximus Decimus Meridius says:

    Bravo pumbwa

  30. guta says:

    Good thing to have

  31. Achimidzimidzi says:

    Akufana kubwerera ku America.

  32. The review is welcome
    .development…koma osati review yama Gays and Les

  33. Kenkkk says:

    Troubling people with visas as if malawi is not their country, we give you 3 months then you can renew your stay, what? In my own country? These are born and bred Malawians, only went to work and better their lives ( for economic reasons or some for the old political reasons) and of those left behind, all their relatives are here and they even have minda in the villages but most of all they contribute significant amounts of forex for the country to boost its foreign reserves and economic growth by helping relatives in various economic activities including feeding their relatives, financial assistance and playing a very great role in the education of their relatives by assisting with fees payments, transport, etc. Dual nationality is long overdue!!

    They will boost the economy as many will be able to start businesses to spur economic and investment activities in the country.

    The issue of divided loyalty doesn’t even come to it because the foreign citizenship they hold are just for convenience of say travel without visa or hassle in many countries if say you hold a European passport, etc. They remain 100% Malawians in every sense of it speaking chewa or tumbuka or lomwe or Yao,etc.

  34. ujeni says:

    Bring it as soon as possible i want to go and live in Maputo peacefully

  35. Jonjo says:

    Rubbish!!! After stealing from government coffers in 2019 you will denounce Malawian citizen and claim to be wakunja shatapu!!!!!

  36. M'ngoni wa ku Maputo says:

    Good move Mr. President…We have been tied for long

  37. Chikadza Kuwani says:

    Bravooooooooo Mr. President

Comments are closed.