MP makes case for dual citizenship, govt for special status

By Francis Kajubi , The Guardian
Published at 02:51 PM Apr 06 2024
Suma Fyandomo, Special Seats MP
Photo: Ibrahim Juma
Suma Fyandomo, Special Seats MP

THE government has been urged to embrace dual citizenship in its legislations so that it reaps economic and diplomatic benefits from Tanzanians who reside abroad.

Suma Fyandomo, Special Seats MP, argued in the National Assembly yesterday that dual citizenship’s economic and diplomatic benefits are beyond remittances by Tanzanians residing abroad.

She questioned the government’s hesitation in granting people with Tanzanian origin dual citizenship, pointing out Kenya as the only country in the East African Community (EAC) which benefits economically and diplomatically.

“Kenya for instance through dual citizenship has been attracting $4.2 billion a year but Tanzania has been attracting only $520 million a year mostly through remittances. Why is the government so worried about dual citizenship?” she asked.

Fyandomo raised the issue in her primary question on the hesitation of the government in revisiting its legislation to allow dual citizenship.

In his response, Daniel Sillo, Deputy Minister for Home Affairs, said the prevailing law on citizenship does not allow dual citizenship for adults but for the under 18 year-old citizens who are supposed to opt as they turn 18 years.

He said the Tanzania Citizenship Act Cap 357 R.E. 2002 states that Tanzania has three types of citizenships namely citizenship by birth, citizenship by descent and citizenship by naturalization.

“The government is finalizing procedures for granting adult Tanzanians who are residing abroad with the special status identity so that they can enjoy the freedom of residing in Tanzania,” he said.

According to him, the government has nothing to lose be it economically or diplomatically by not allowing dual citizenship.

“The special status grants all economic and diplomatic opportunities that Tanzanians who reside abroad can apply in participating in their motherland’s affairs,” he said.