Zambia Allows Dual Citizenship in Last Draft Constitution

Zambia presented a new draft constitution that would permit dual citizenship and abandon the first-past-the-post presidential election system as the nation prepares to celebrate 50 years of independence tomorrow.

To win a presidential ballot, candidates will need to receive more than 50 percent of the vote, the document shows. Acting Justice Minister Ngosa Simbyakula presented it today to lawmakers in Lusaka, the capital.

“It is now time for Zambians to analyze the constitution and see if the suggestions they made are here,” he said. “This is not the end product, you have to see if those things you suggested are here or not. That’s another process.”

The government’s constitution-making process has drawn protests and constant criticism from opposition parties and civil-society groups that say it has taken too long. The technical committee that drafted it handed the document to the government in December.

The final draft published on parliament’s website today abandons a clause requiring a person’s parents to be born in Zambia for them to qualify as a presidential candidate. This would allow Vice President Guy Scott, whose parents were Scottish, to stand.

Simbyakula didn’t say how long it would take for the government to enact the new constitution or whether there will be a referendum to approve it.

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