Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi has called for an in-depth reflection on the question of dual nationality and definitively have it resolved.
The vast mineral rich country has for the past decades been gripped by high levels of insurgency orchestrated by foreign militia and other foreigners engaged in illegal mining activities.
“I call here for in-depth reflections to allow us to definitively resolve this question and to adapt to the evolution of the world”, he wished in his speech on the state of the nation this Friday, December 13 .
Speaking before the two chambers of parliament, meeting in congress at the Palais du Peuple, F. Tshisekedi said that it was time to put an end to this question definitively.
“When I came to power, I instructed the DGM so that all compatriots who have acquired a foreign nationality can return freely to the country and obtain the visa at the border post. It is time to put an end to this national ambiguity that does not benefit anyone,” said Félix Tshisekedi.
The Congolese President observed that since the moratorium that the National Assembly adopted under the chairmanship of the Honorable Vital Kamerhe, no courageous initiative has been taken to date to resolve this issue definitively.
Dual citizenship which is forbidden by law is generating debates across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Former President Joseph Kabila and his siblings are said to have been born out of Congo and arrived into the country as adults who according to the law do not qualify for citizenship in this vast country.
Also one of the country’s known opposition leaders Moise Katumbi is believed to hold Congolese and Italian citizenship.
According to Congolese law, a child born abroad, who obtains the citizenship of the country of birth may retain dual citizenship until their 21st birthday. Person then has 12 months to renounce foreign citizenship or Congolese citizenship will be revoked.
One can become a naturalised citizen of Congo upon fulfilment of the following condition: Person has legally resided in the country for at least five years.
Also, citizenship may be granted by registration for the following persons: Foreign woman who has been, or is, married to a citizen of Congo. Foreign child adopted by citizens of Congo.
Birth within the territory of Congo does not automatically confer citizenship.
However, citizenship by descent is for a Child of a Congolese parent, regardless of the child’s country of birth.
One of the most intriguing aspects is when one intends to renounce their Congolese citizenship. Voluntary renunciation of Congolese citizenship is permitted by law. Though the Embassy can provide information and assistance, the person seeking to renounce citizenship must return to Congo and present their case to a court of law. Due to this procedure, assume that renunciation is neither automatic nor guaranteed.