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New citizens advised to follow Lesotho traditions

Boitumelo Koloi

citizensThe close to 100 foreigners who took oath of allegiance and became Lesotho citizens on Thursday were encouraged to abide by the country’s legal and social requirements in order to become bona fide citizens.

Joang Molapo, the Minister of Home Affairs, told the new citizens that in order to be accepted as legitimate and legal residents of Lesotho, they had to attend funerals in their neighbourhoods, as well as register as voters, among other “basic” requirements.
“Be advised that as citizens of this country, you will be required by law and ethics, to perform certain duties. For instance, you will be required to follow the laws of the land, pay taxes, take appropriate legal action when and if you see a criminal activity in progress, register to vote and attend funerals in your communities,” Molapo said.

The minister also encouraged the new citizens to have good command of the Sesotho language as that would facilitate “easy and smooth integration within our different communities and the society as a whole.”

The 96 new citizens, mostly Asian natives, comprise of teachers, businesspersons and missionaries.

As a legal requirement, nationalities of other countries qualify for naturalisation as Lesotho citizens after staying in the country for over five years — and also after being cleared of any criminal record both in their country of origin as well as in Lesotho.
By taking oath as Lesotho citizens, they also denounce their old citizenship since Lesotho’s legal system does not allow dual-citizenship.

Meanwhile, talking to the Sunday Express on the sidelines of the event, new citizen, Radha Padmanabham, who has been in the country for the past 22 years, said it had been a very long journey for her to be ultimately confirmed a legitimate Lesotho national.
Padmanabham, a native Indian and English teacher at the Maseru High School, said she fell in love with Lesotho “at first glance”, hence the decision to become a Lesotho national.

“I saw this peaceful, small mountainous country with very friendly people and I totally fell in love with it, so my family and I decided to live here forever,” Padmanabham said, adding she came to Lesotho to be with her husband.

Padmanabham however, said settling in the country had not been a bed of roses as she had to go through some “very painful experiences”, among them three robberies at her house.
“But I never ran away because I believe they had nothing to do with the fact that I was not a native of this country.
“Such things do happen everywhere in the world; I think we were just unlucky to have experienced such unfortunate
robberies although re leboha Molimo to be alive today.
“I have since made very loyal and reliable friendships over the last 22 years. I have even learnt and appreciated the culture and language of this country.”

The mother-of-two said even her children love the country, hence they would also be renouncing their Indian citizenship and assume Lesotho citizenship now that the parents are legally Basotho.

The other new citizens included those from China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Cuba as well as other African countries including South Africa, Zimbabwe and Nigeria.

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