President Mnangagwa said he would strip dual-nationals who support opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and other sanctions supporting groups of their Zimbabwe citizenship, the latest move by Zanu PF government to deal with the threat posed by homegrown political radicals.
Nick Ndabanengi Mangwana, the spokeswoman for the Zimbabwe information ministry, said ministers and the government had agreed that, in future, anyone with dual nationality “who have taken part in combat operations for opposition party MDC will forfeit their Zimbabwe citizenship”.
But loud mouth Deputy minister of information Energy Mutodi has so far contradicted his superiors saying the directive from VP Chiwenga said it would only take action against culprits on a “case by case” basis.
Matemadanda, deputy defence and war veterans minister, has gone further, saying he would “not hesitate” to prevent the return of Zimbabwe nationals who have supported sanctions against the country abroad.
Zimbabwe officials are particularly worried about the security threat that the returnees may pose. Monica Mutsvangwa, head of the information ministry, said last month that they were “likely to have acquired the skills and connections that make them potentially very dangerous”.
The case of Nelson Chamisa and Tendai Biti has become emblematic of the problem of what to do with Zimbabweans who beg for sanctions and their families.
Lovemore Madhuku has added to the debate. Three years ago, Mugabe, the previous president, abandoned a constitutional bill that would have allowed dual nationals convicted of such criminal acts to be stripped of Zimbabwe citizenship after he failed to win sufficient support in parliament. But rightwing politicians have continued to demand such a step.
Mugabe already called to strip anyone of citizenship who joins a foreign army. Since2003, a Zimbabwean who joins the armed forces “or similar armed organisation” of another state without the permission of the ZIMBABWE defence ministry forfeits their Zimbabwe passport.