Stateless Zimbabwe residents gain citizenship
Standing in a winding queue in downtown Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, Judith Kapito, 38, cannot hide her excitement: she is waiting to receive a new identity document, one that will offer her rights and opportunities she has long been deprived of.
Kapito was born to Malawian parents who migrated to Zimbabwe - then Southern Rhodesia - in 1960. She lost her citizenship in 2001, when the government’s amendment of the Citizenship Act forced those born of alien parents to renounce their foreign citizenship.
Kapito, who was born in Zimbabwe and registered as a national of the country, had no other citizenship to renounce. She became stateless, and remained so until the country’s new constitution, passed in April 2013, restored her status as a Zimbabwean.
“For 10 years, I had no identity, just a name. I had no country to call mine because the government of Malawi, where my parents came from, did not consider me as its citizen and could not help me in any way.”