Over the past several months, there have been debates regarding whether Malawi should allow its nationals to hold dual citizenship or not. The way the laws of Malawi are framed is such that an individual who holds a Malawian citizenship cannot be a citizen of another country. This is not unusual for most countries. You cannot belong to a country here and also hold citizenship on Mars or Jupiter or the United States.
So, every time I hear the preacher woman saying that she also has citizenship in heaven I am wondering what the Inspector General of police is doing! This is an individual who confesses in public that they hold dual nationality and the police; yes our very own police, are just looking instead of booking these people into Maula or Chichiri Prisons.
There are countries that do not mind their citizens belonging to more than one country. So, an American (United States) can also be an Israel citizen or a British citizen. In specific situations, this makes a lot of sense.
Take an individual who is born from a Malawian and a British parent. While that individual is young, the law is accommodating as it is here in Malawi. It does not require such an individual to choose nationality.
But as they grow older, the law asks them to make a choice. One may, therefore, have to choose between which parents they side with. Countless number of children has had to choose one and not both, of their parent’s nationalities.
In almost every Western city that President Joyce Banda has visited, she was asked by those in the diaspora that her government enacts legislation that would allow them (the diaspora) to retain or maintain their Malawian nationality while they enjoy foreign citizenship. In all these cities, the President has agreed with the voices of change but has also hastened to add that as an individual she is helpless to do anything about it. The message has been that it is the National Assembly that can debate and agree on such laws. The more Mrs Banda says this the more the diaspora repeats the same song and to no good.
Let me state here that I support dual nationality and I look forward to the time I can hold my Malawian citizenship just as I would hold another nationality. Malawian diaspora and people like me should know that the space on the political table is earned. If I supported a political party and later I demanded that dual nationality be an issue, things would move fast. But to meet the President at a foreign hotel which she has paid for, eat and dine with her when she has paid the bill and then start asking her to support dual nationality is a non-starter. But if I paid the bills and then after she is fed, I asked her about dual nationality, what will her response be?