The Botswana government on Thursday announced it would cancel citizenship for all persons above the age of 21 who have not renounced citizenship of another country.Currently a child born to a Botswana citizen and a foreigner has dual citizenship or is considered to assume the nationality of both parents until the age of 21.
But the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs said after age 21 the person should choose between the two countries and renounce citizenship of the other. “Affected individuals should at the age of 20 inform the ministry in writing of their intention to renounce citizenship, a process which must be completed before turning 21. Affected individuals are to submit their letters to immigration offices in their area,” the ministry said in a statement.
It added: “When an individual with dual citizenship fails to renounce citizenship at age 21, it will result in the loss of the Botswana citizenship because the law will presume that the citizenship has been renounced as per the Citizenship Act.”
Some Botswana citizens are married to foreigners from neighbouring countries such as Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Sarah Moagi, a South African citizen married to a local man, said she hoped that “those above the age of 21 won’t be affected by this. It is not going to be easy for children to decide which country they want to be citizen of.”
A Namibian Jacob Karihindi who is married to a local woman said “there should have been consultation before amending the citizenship law because it is going to affect a lot of people and some of them are unprepared for this.” [APA]