The Constitution recognises and prescribes three types of citizenship: citizenship by birth (section 36), citizenship by descent (section 37) and citizenship by registration (section 38).
Section 36 of the Constitution states that a person is a Zimbabwean citizen if they were born in Zimbabwe and their parents or grandparents were Zimbabwean citizens either by birth or descent.
In the instance that a person was born outside of Zimbabwe, they may still be recognised as a citizen of Zimbabwe if, when they were born, either one of their parents was a Zimbabwean citizen. For a child younger than 15 years of age, and whose parents’ nationalities are unknown, Zimbabwean citizenship is granted.
The Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act of 1984, strictly prohibited dual citizenship. However, the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Act, 2013 ushered in a new dispensation in this legal area by allowing dual citizenship thus decriminalising dual citizenship. The Constitution being the supreme law of Zimbabwe, supersedes the Citizenship Act, which now has been realigned to the Constitution.
However, dual citizenship is not an absolute right to all persons as section 42(e) of the Constitution prohibits dual citizenship in respect to those who are citizens by registration or by descent. Therefore, a Zimbabwean national may only acquire dual citizenship if they are a citizen by birth.
Upon acquiring dual citizenship, a Zimbabwean citizen is not required to renounce their original citizenship, and this was enunciated as a principle of law by the Zimbabwean Courts in the case of Mutumwa Dziva Mawere v. The Registrar General. The applicant, in this case, argued that he was a Zimbabwean citizen by birth, and therefore entitled to dual citizenship without having to renounce his South African citizenship, before being granted a Zimbabwean national identity document. The Court granted the application thus confirming the Constitutional recognition of dual citizenship.
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