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Revised Citizenship Bill expected in February

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The Special Law Commission which is reviewing the Citizenship Act has said it expects to submit its proposed revised Citizenship Bill to the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ministry by February next year.

One of the commissioners, Reverend Fanuel Magangani, said this in Blantyre during a regional consultative workshop on the proposed bill.

“After this regional consultative workshop, we will hold one national workshop where we will also get views of Malawians on the proposed law.

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“If everything goes according to plan, then, by February, we should be submitting the proposed bill to the Ministry of Justice and hope that, when they take it to Parliament, members of Parliament will pass it,” he said.

Magangani said it was high time the Citizenship Act, which was enacted in 1966, was reviewed.

“Among other things, the old Act does not correspond with the rights and freedoms enshrined in the 1994 Republic of Malawi Constitution. There are repressive provisions in the current Act such as those which make a Malawian woman lose her citizenship when she marries someone from outside the country. All that has to change.

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“We are also talking of the possibility of one having two citizenships. This means we need to change citizenship laws of the country,” he said.

Representatives of civil society organisations, faith community, traditional leaders, the academia, police and Malawi Defence Force soldiers attended the workshop.

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