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Oppressive Zimbabwe Citizenship Laws Punish Kiwi

14 February 2002

Foreign Minister Phil Goff is appalled that Invercargill-born Sir Garfield Todd has been stripped of his Zimbabwe citizenship by the Mugabe regime.

The 93-year-old Sir Garfield, has lived in Zimbabwe since 1934 and has retained dual New Zealand/Zimbabwe citizenship. He has had a distinguished career including being Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia 1953-58 and a Senator in the post-independence Government from 1980-85.

“Legislation passed by the Zimbabwe government last year required all dual nationals to renounce their second citizenship by 6 January 2002 or be stripped of their Zimbabwe citizenship.

“This was patently one move – among a number – to disenfranchise sections of the population who were likely to be opposed to the re-election of President Mugabe next month.

“Sir Garfield has refused to cut his ties with New Zealand and has been punished by this oppressive legislation and lost his Zimbabwe citizenship and his right to vote in next month’s presidential election.

“It is ironic that Sir Garfield has spent much of his life fighting for majority rule in Zimbabwe. He was forced to resign as Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia because of his championship of black rights.

“This didn’t deter him and his continued support for black rights saw him imprisoned in 1972 then placed under house-arrest for four years by the Ian Smith government.

“Sir Garfield is welcome to return to New Zealand at any time. But I totally understand his fierce loyalty and commitment to his adopted home of 67 years.

“The shabby and unjust treatment of one of Zimbabwe’s great sons by the Mugabe regime is yet further reason for concern over the legitimacy of next months elections,” Mr Goff said.

Ends

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