Top of page

Article Zambia: Constitutional Changes on Citizenship, Elections

(Jan. 13, 2016) Zambia’s President, Edgar Lungu, approved a new Constitution for the country on January 5, 2016. Among other changes, the new document permits dual citizenship and sets a date for the next elections.  (Government Urges Zambians Living in Diaspora to Apply for Dual Citizenship, LUSAKA TIMES (Jan. 7, 2016), Open Source Center No. CEP20090721950177; Zambia Sets Presidential Election to August 2016, ALJAZEERA (Jan. 4, 2016).)

Dual Citizenship

On January 6, 2016, Zambia’s Ministry of Home Affairs urged Zambians living in other countries and foreigners residing in Zambia to apply for dual citizenship. Dual citizenship is now permitted under the recently approved amendments to the Zambian Constitution.  (Government Urges Zambians Living in Diaspora to Apply for Dual Citizenship, supra.)

In the 1996 Constitution, dual citizenship was explicitly disallowed. (Constitution of Zambia 1996, art. 9, ACE PROJECT.)  By contrast, the recently approved document states:

(1) A citizen, by birth, shall not lose that citizenship by acquiring the citizenship of another country.

(2) A person who, before the commencement of this Constitution, acquired the citizenship of another country and as a result ceased to be a Zambian citizen as specified in clause (1), is entitled, on application, to regain the citizenship. (The Constitution of Zambia, Bill, 200-, art. 26, ZAMBIA ONLINE (last visited Jan. 8, 2016)  [Note:  revisions to the document have been made since the drafting of this version].)

A spokesman for the Ministry, Moses Suwali, stated that dual citizenship will put Zambia on a “progressive road,” by allowing Zambians living abroad to return and contribute to the country’s development. He added that the procedure for applying for dual citizenship is similar to the application for a passport, except that a valid other passport would be required.  (Government Urges Zambians Living in Diaspora to Apply for Dual Citizenship, supra.) 

Presidential Election 

The new Constitution specifies that both presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on August 11, 2016; previously, the President set an election date every five years. In addition, presidential candidates will now have vice-presidential running mates, replacing the former practice of the President appointing the Vice President (art. 149).  Winning tickets will need more than 50% of the vote (art. 134).  The last presidential election was held in January 2015 and resulted in the election of Lungu to finish the term of deceased President Michael Sata.  (Zambia Sets Presidential Election to August 2016, supra; Constitution of Zambia Bill.)

About this Item

Title

  • Zambia: Constitutional Changes on Citizenship, Elections

Online Format

  • web page

Rights & Access

Publications of the Library of Congress are works of the United States Government as defined in the United States Code 17 U.S.C. §105 and therefore are not subject to copyright and are free to use and reuse.  The Library of Congress has no objection to the international use and reuse of Library U.S. Government works on loc.gov. These works are also available for worldwide use and reuse under CC0 1.0 Universal. 

More about Copyright and other Restrictions.

For guidance about compiling full citations consult Citing Primary Sources.

Credit Line: Law Library of Congress

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Johnson, Constance. Zambia: Constitutional Changes on Citizenship, Elections. 2016. Web Page. https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2016-01-13/zambia-constitutional-changes-on-citizenship-elections/.

APA citation style:

Johnson, C. (2016) Zambia: Constitutional Changes on Citizenship, Elections. [Web Page] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2016-01-13/zambia-constitutional-changes-on-citizenship-elections/.

MLA citation style:

Johnson, Constance. Zambia: Constitutional Changes on Citizenship, Elections. 2016. Web Page. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2016-01-13/zambia-constitutional-changes-on-citizenship-elections/>.