Dismantling the conundrum estopping dual citizenship and/or nationality for Cameroonians in the diaspora, By Chofor Che, 12 September 2012

12 Sep

The world is dominated by economic integration, large scale migration and international trade. These domineering elements of globalisation have resulted to a decline in most of the traditional constrictions governing the notion of citizenship and/or nationality in most countries both in Africa and in the rest of the world. In addition to the individual benefits obtained from immigration, the increased prosperity related with successful migration can generate a successful monetary flow back to the immigrant’s family, and by extension the economy of the homeland.

Cameroon’s law on double citizenship and/or nationality still does not reflect the new global reality. The country does not recognise dual citizenship and/or nationality, which has heavy economic and social repercussions on the country’s economy.

The issue of nationality in Cameroon is governed by two laws of 1968. Citizenship in Cameroon is defined solely as ‘nationality’. Though the term ‘citizenship’ is not utilised in the specific laws, the term nationality expounded in these laws are similar to those related to ‘citizenship’ in other countries.

There are three main ways of obtaining Cameroon nationality: by birth, by marriage and by naturalization. Of these three ways, the foremost is by birth, which follows mainly a descent based definition of nationality. No formal categories of citizenship are defined by the applicable legislation. Section 30 (1) of Law 1968-LF-3 explicitly states that, nationality by naturalization shall be comparable in rights to that gotten by birth. However, an unofficial division exists between citizens who obtain nationality by birth and those who obtain citizenship by naturalization. Naturalized citizens may not stand for elected office for a period of five years after the date of naturalization. This impediment could however be annulled by an executive order, especially when it concerns the interest of the state.

Cameroonians can lose their nationality and/or citizenship by three ways. The acquisition or retention of a foreign nationality is ground for a Cameroonian to lose his or her nationality. Another way of losing Cameroonian nationality and/or citizenship is by voluntary renunciation. The third way of losing Cameroonian nationality is by an executive order from the central government. This implies that any Cameroonian immigrant, who naturalizes as a citizen of another country, automatically loses his or her Cameroonian nationality.

Restricting dual citizenship and/or nationality for Cameroonians in the diaspora has enormous economic, social, political and cultural ramifications.

Cameroonians in the diaspora are faced with humongous challenges in reinvesting their money back into the economy of the country. This is so because Cameroonian law considers those who have acquired foreign citizenship and/or nationality as foreigners in their own country. Though Cameroon law recognises foreign property ownership, the weak modus operandi of the rule of law, and the mala fide attitude of some government officials in charge of safeguarding the interests of foreigners, creates an unfavourable environment for Cameroonians in the diaspora to reinvest back into the country’s economy. Additionally, though the government should be given some credit for allowing Cameroonians in the diaspora to vote, there still remains a hurdle in protecting the legal and socio-economic privileges of Cameroonians in the diaspora.  It is still difficult for Cameroonian investors in the diaspora to legally fully protect their interest in the country especially as ‘foreigners’. Socio-economic consequences of the restriction of dual citizenship include massive brain drain and a loss of human capital.

The application of legislation related to dual citizenship and/or nationality, has been inconsistently applied in some cases. For instances, reputable international Cameroonian footballers can hold dual citizenship and/or nationality without any problem. Cameroonian authorities argue that, this applies where the interest of the state is concerned. Several diplomatic representatives as well as top ranking government officials do hold dual citizenship and are also covered by the ‘interest of the state’ argument.

Cameroonians who suffer from such prohibitive laws against double nationality and/or citizenship are most especially activists who continue to lambast against ‘bad governance’ and corrupt practices in the system’s administrative ladder. Such Cameroonians do not benefit from the ‘interest of the state’ argument.

Prohibiting dual citizenship and/or nationality, thus prohibits the Cameroonian diaspora from adequately investing back at home. It also contributes to massive brain drain and loss of human capital. Although there is no absolute guarantee that dismantling prohibitive legislation against dual citizenship and/or nationality will curb brain drain and loss of human capital, massive economic gains from the Cameroon diaspora can nonetheless be registered by the economy of Cameroon. Accommodating legislation on dual citizenship and /or nationality would allow Cameroonians in the diaspora to safely invest back at home, even if they decide to permanently reside abroad.


Posted by on September 12, 2012 in Uncategorized


11 responses to “Dismantling the conundrum estopping dual citizenship and/or nationality for Cameroonians in the diaspora, By Chofor Che, 12 September 2012

  1. dfomanka

    September 12, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Good article.

  2. Gwanfogbe Don

    September 12, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    nice one my bros

    He who pays the piper , calls the tune.


    • choforche

      September 12, 2012 at 12:54 pm

      Hahahahaha….Papa the Papa…we need change massa.

  3. PapaJ

    September 12, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    nice one bro

  4. Donvialli

    September 12, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Wow, Chofor this is an intellectual piece that requires special attention, quite impressive. This is what we have been requesting for the last couple of years. Cameroon is greatly lagging behind because we do not want to change from our old systems and habits. Dual nationality obviously comes with a lot of economic and human resource benefits. Most of the brains are out there making it big, but find it difficult to contribute back home because they are regarded as foreigners. Too bad, it is high time we join the moving train of globalization and social integration. Keep it up man.

  5. Lang

    September 12, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    We are working for cameroonians with cameroon

    • choforche

      September 12, 2012 at 3:41 pm

      Two thumbs up for the work you are doing for Cameroon.

  6. Lang

    September 12, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Avec vous et pour vous

  7. Nomsa

    September 17, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Lesotho is in the same predicament, and i do not foresee this law being repealed anytime soon. i have argued along the same lines that you do in one of my LLM papers that in today’s world it has become obsolete if not nonsensical to have a law that proscribes dual cititenship amidst a world that is ever-increasingly becoming globalized.

    • choforche

      September 17, 2012 at 12:46 pm

      Hi Noma, thanks for sharing the situation also in Lesotho. Africa definitely does not need barriers to dual citizenship in a globalised world today.

  8. Izak Khomo

    September 22, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Dual citizens. Kagame and his RPF cronies were citizens of both Uganda and Rwanda and see what they did, they fought Ugandans and installed a tribal oligarchy headed my Muzeveni and they established a tribal control in Rwanda this being enabled as Ugandan military officers. Remember Kagame was the director of military intellegence and was trained in the USA as an Ugandan military officer. The RPF when it invaded Rwanda it was a brigade of the Ugandan army. It has been revealed in the court case in South Africa by ex General Nyamwasa of Kagame’s RPF that Kagame gave the final order to shoot down Hybiriyamana’s plane an action that sparked the genocide. No body is interested to look at this set of evidence, and also the action of Uganda. The American constitution states that a person has to be a free born American to be aor to try to be President of the USA. wHY IS IT SO???


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