Musalia Mudavadi slams dual citizenship law

Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua (left) and her Amani National Congress counterpart Musalia Mudavadi at the Diaspora Convention in New Jersey, USA on September 28, 2019. PHOTO | COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • Mr Mudavadi asked the IEBC to put in place mechanisms which will ensure Kenyans in diaspora vote in 2022 General Election.
  • Sub section (2) reinforces the fact that a state officer or a member of the Kenya Defence Forces shall not hold dual citizenship.

Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi has criticised the legal provisions that place state jobs out of reach for Kenyans holding dual citizenships.

Mr Mudavadi at the same time asked the Independent Electoral and boundaries Commission (IEBC) to put in place mechanisms which will ensure Kenyans in diaspora vote in the 2022 General Election.

The ANC leader said all Kenyans are entitled to full enjoyment of civil rights regardless of their citizenship status.

CITIZENSHIP

 “It is confounding that the law should ask you to drop one of your citizenships in order for you to play your role for your motherland,” the ANC leader said when he addressed Kenyans living in the State of New Jersey, USA, on Saturday.

Article 78 (1) of the Constitution declares that a person is not eligible to contest for an election in Kenya or appointment for a State job unless he is a citizen of Kenya.

Sub section (2) reinforces the fact that a state officer or a member of the Kenya Defence Forces shall not hold dual citizenship.

Mr Mudavadi was referring to the case of Ms Mwende Mwinzi, whose nomination to serve as Kenya envoy in South Korea by President Uhuru Kenyatta, has run into this constitutional headwinds, forcing her to seek the intervention of the high court.

The National Assembly endorsed her nomination it however placed a qualifier to her appointment.

NOMINATION

It asked the President to appoint her if she renounces her US citizenship. She has since moved to court to stop MPs from forcing her to renounce her US citizenship before she takes the job.

She argued that forcing her to renounce her US citizenship would be a violation of her rights.  

 “It’s not enough to tell Kenyans they have multiple citizenships while also denying them a citizen’s right. Your citizenship is not worth the paper on which it is written if citizenship participation has discriminate against you,” Mr Mudavadi told the diaspora.

Central Bank of Kenya statistics show that in Kenyans diaspora remit up to Sh2 billion annually, making them a major contributor to foreign exchange.

Mr Mudavadi wants the government to provide them with more motivation to participate in the life of the country.

INVESTMENT

Among other proposals the former Deputy Prime Minister provided includes the government encouraging the disposal to invest at home by providing a safe environment for investment, political participation and having laws and regulations that facilitate diaspora in national development.

He said IEBC must ensure that Kenyans living abroad are facilitated to take part in the 2022 polls at all levels.

Technology, he said, had advanced and IEBC ought to register all Kenyans in diaspora as voters and allow them to vote all levels.

 “Technology should not be an issue any more. I don’t think that it is the hindrance, the challenge remains the kind of electoral authorities we have in Africa,” he said.

We added: “In Kenya, the IEBC remains a thorn in the flesh and we cannot remain silent about it anymore. We must reform the IEBC. The new commission must put in place simple, credible and verifiable mechanisms for the diaspora to vote come 2022."

INFLUENCE CHANGE

Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua urged Kenyans in the diaspora to influence change back home not just through remittances but also demand good services.

“Don’t just send money to relatives, influence them to choose the right leaders and to say no to stealing,” Ms Karua said.

Chief Administrative Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ababu Namwamba told the convention that the government has enacted policy on how it can work with Kenyans in the diaspora and facilitate them to contribute to national development.

Human rights activist Boniface Mwangi said it is regrettable that Kenyans in the diaspora export their bad habits to the diaspora including tribalism and challenged them to unite. “If you are united you can influence Kenya in a big way,” he said.

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