What you need to know:
- Under Tanzanian laws, foreigners pay a Sh2 million fee for citizenship, but the government has scrapped the amount per person as a gesture of kindness to the new citizens.
Dar es Salaam. Over 3,300 immobile migrants have been granted citizenship by Tanzania after 50 years of living in the country.
Citizenship certificates were issued by the President of Zanzibar, Dr. Hussein Mwinyi, in a ceremony held at the State House Unguja, where he assured the new Tanzanians of all rights and privileges as other citizens, asking them to grab opportunities and rights that come with their citizenship for their families and national development.
"Indeed, our country today is writing a new history to complete this great thing of granting citizenship to our brothers and sisters from neighbouring countries who we have lived with here for more than 50 years," said Dr. Mwinyi.
He said both union and revolutionary governments are happy to conclude the matter that he promised to deal with when he came into power in 2020.
Mwinyi reminded them to abide by the country’s laws; "For sure, you have the obligation to sustain your obedience to the laws and refrain from crimes."
Dr. Mwinyi also challenged the 3,319 new Tanzanians, some of who were born in the country before independence, to cooperate with all Tanzanians in protecting and sustaining the country’s peace and tranquility for the benefit of present and future generations.
In addition, he directed government and private institutions to accord the new citizens all the support they will need as per the laws, regulations and guidelines.
For his part, Home Affairs Minister, Mr Hamad Masauni said that the people were incurring challenges, citing the example of one pilgrim who wanted to go to Mecca but was told that he was not a citizen so he could not get a passport.
Under Tanzanian laws, foreigners pay a Sh2 million fee for citizenship, but the government has scrapped the amount per person as a gesture of kindness to the new citizens.
That means the government has forfeited Sh6.6 billion to the 3,319 new citizens.
On his part, Zanzibar Minister of State, Second Vice-President’s Office, Policy, Coordination and House of Representatives Hamza Hassan Juma said that the new Tanzanians will now feel more free and that the amount they would pay to acquire citizenship could have constructed three-story secondary schools.
The Commissioner General of Immigration, Dr Anna Makakala said that as the country is facing a big challenge of having big number of immobile immigrants, the department has introduced an electronic system for secure printing of certificates for these citizens to keep their records.
Dr Makakala said there are still people who live in the country without official identity, calling for all foreigners to report to the department for registration and identification.
She said the certificate recipients include 676 men, 768 women, and 1,675 children.
Some of the 3,319 new Tanzanians were born in the country before independence.
The citizens are from Mozambique (3,116 people); Comoros (147); Burundi (five); and Rwanda (one).
Speaking after receiving the citizenship certificates, some of the recipients, including Dr. Miraji Issa Saleh promised to be good citizens and abide by the country’s rules and regulations.
"I was abandoned by my mother in 1947, so from then until now that I am here, I have been participating in building the nation even before I was given a citizenship certificate," said Yusuph Bizimana, whose originality is Rwanda.
Additional repoer by Jesse Mikofu