KIGALI - A group of 20 aspiring Rwandan citizens, yesterday, sat for a two hour examination to test their knowledge of the country, a prerequisite to acquire Rwandan nationality The exam that was supervised by the Directorate of Immigration and Emigration at Mulindi Agricultural Research Centre, is one of the stages that aspiring citizens go through.
The procedure includes reception of application files, interviews, Cabinet approval and the final oath taking by successful applicants.
According to the Directorate, most of the applicants are from the region while others are from Asia and Europe.With most of them also being married to Rwandan nationals.
The Directorate’s officer in charge of the project, Damascene Rusanganwa, said that the exam was reasonably easy and sought to test for essentials such as the candidate’s awareness and genuine interest in Rwanda.
“If one wants to become a citizen of a country, they should show that they have a connection, awareness, an interest or even value for the country whose citizenship they hope to acquire,” Rusanganwa said.
“This (test) is thus for us to know their basic knowledge about the country and whether they know and like it because when you like something you ought to know it, or whether it is just about people seeking papers just so that they won’t pay for visas and other such things.”
Mohamed Razak, 41, is one of the applicants of Asian origin but was born and raised in Rwanda.
“I have lived and grown up in Rwanda, got all my schooling here and even when I think, I think in Kinyarwanda,” Razak told The New Times.
Razak who speaks fluent Kinyarwanda also demonstrated deep knowledge of Rwanda’s history.
“In the exam, they asked us about Rwanda’s last King and there were five tricky options to select from but in those five was Queen Kanjogera’s name and it was badly written as ‘Kangogera’ and I called them and told them to correct it,” Razak said.
The Directorate of Immigration and Emigration has started speeding up the approval for Rwandan citizenship following a Presidential order that transferred the services from Ministry of Justice to the directorate.
A Presidential order issued on May 29, placed the responsibility of approving non-nationals, interested in acquiring Rwandan citizenship to the department of Immigration and Emigration.
The purpose of the July 2008 law, is to determine the conditions of acquisition, enjoyment and deprivation of Rwandan nationality.
Under the law, “majority age” or the authorized age for anyone applying for nationality is at least 18 years and, any foreigner born on Rwandan territory from alien parents may acquire nationality if he or she applies for it.
A Rwandan or his or her descendant, who was deprived of their nationality between November 1959 and December 1994, shall upon return to Rwanda re-acquire their nationality of origin “without applying.”
The recovery of acquired nationality, however, is applied for and the applicants must provide proof of their earlier status, reasons why it was lost and why they want to recover it.