Namibian Citizenship Amendment Bill withdrawn

19 Oct 2016 12:50pm
WINDHOEK, 19 OCT (NAMPA) – The Namibian Citizenship Amendment Bill of 2016 was on Tuesday withdrawn in the National Assembly (NA) and referred back to Cabinet for more consultation to take place.
The Bill intends to amend the Namibian Citizenship Act of 1990 to make clear the meaning of the term “ordinary resident” in relation to the acquisition of Namibian citizenship by birth to people born in Namibia after independence, who however are born to non-Namibian parents.
The Bill was criticised by legal experts as unconstitutional if passed in its current form, when they presented their submissions to the National Council (NC).
Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, who introduced the Bill in the NA in July, said she had compared Cabinet directives and statements in the explanatory note of the NC on the reasons why the NC rejected the principle of the Bill.
However, the NC’s attempt to interpret the Bill was misplaced, Iivula-Ithana explained.
She also indicated that her plea to have the Bill lapse was also based on her interpretation of Article 75 (5) (a) and (b) in the Namibian Constitution.
Section 5 (a) and (b) states that if the National Council in its report objects to the principle of the bill, the NA is required to reconsider the principle by a majority of two-thirds of all its members and the principle of the bill shall no longer be an issue.
However, if such two-thirds majority is not obtained in the NA, the bill shall lapse, the section states.
Iivula-Ithana’s submission was accepted, as some MPs could not reconsider the principle of the Bill after they indicated that they were not provided with the explanatory notes of why the Bill was reject by the NC.