The Special Law Commission on the review of the Malawi Citizenship Act report has proposed dual citizenship restrictions on top government officials including the President and Vice-President.
Others are Speaker of the National Assembly, Cabinet ministers, Chief Justice, members of Parliament, Attorney General, judges and Chief Secretary to the Government.
Law enforcement and security agencies officers are also in the dual citizenship restricted bracket, so are heads of diplomatic missions, chief elections officer and principal secretaries.
The Special Law Commission released 33-paged report at a press briefing in Lilongwe on Friday.
The report, presented by the commission’s chairperson Justice Rezine Mzikamanda, also backed dual citizenship, stating that it promotes economic growth.
Malawi laws did not allow dual citizenship until recently when an amendment to the Act saw it being validated.
“Dual citizenship has the advantage of broadening a country’s economic base and fostering trade and investment between the citizen’s two respective countries,” it reads in part.
The report recommends that dual citizenship should be offered to persons with “rare skills and capacity for technology transfer from which Malawi can benefit.”
The commission said it observed that Section 8 of Malawi Citizenship Act which prohibits dual citizenship is no longer relevant and resolved that it should be repealed.
It also recommends that the minister responsible for home affairs should be stripped of the power, conferred in Section 29, to grant or refuse citizenship.
“The Act does not require the minister to give reasons for either action. The commission found the provision “contrary to fair administrative justice and rules of natural justice as provided for under Section 43 of the Constitution,” it further reads.
The report proposed that government should establish a Citizenship Board to take up such roles.
Mzikamanda said the findings and recommendations have been included in a report which, together with the draft bill, will be submitted to Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Bright Msakak before being presentted to Cabinet.
“It will later be presented before Parliament,” he said.
Law Commissioner Rosemary Kanyuka, in her remarks, said it was high time the Citizenship Citizenship Act was reviewed to match the societal changes.
“Malawi has ratified a number of international instruments which have a bearing on the law relating to citizenship and handling of refugees, children and women,” she said. As a result of these developments, the Act was in some respects outdated.”