Raila fights for Mwende Mwinzi, says MPs move is ‘disturbing and dubious’


Raila fights for Mwende Mwinzi, says MPs move is 'disturbing and dubious'
FILE PHOTO | Mwende Mwinzi

ODM leader Raila Odinga wants MPs to rescind their decision to compel Mwende Mwinzi to revoke her American citizenship so that she can take up her South Korea ambassador role.

According to Mr. Odinga, the treatment of Ms. Mwende Mwinzi by our Parliament ‘extremely disturbing and dubious.’

“The whole debate around whether she qualifies to be Kenya’s ambassador has cast her as a criminal and reduced her to being less Kenyan than the Members of Parliament while the spirit of letter of the law should protect her,” the ODM leader said on Saturday.

Mr. Odinga accused MPs of ‘petty vendetta’ and refusal to rise above ‘partisan interests’ insisting that there is no reason for Parliament to maintain Ms. Mwinzi cannot be Kenya’s ambassador to South Korea.

According to him, opposing her appointment amounts to killing the spirit and necessity of dual citizenship.

In a lengthy statement, Mr. Odinga noted that Ms. Mwinzi was not an American citizen by choice but as a result of her birth in the U.S.

“..She cannot denounce any because both have been acquired not by application and naturalization but by operation of the law,” he said adding that Ms. Mwinzi’s father moved back to Kenya after she was born and she cannot undo her sire.

The ODM leader further argued that ‌the Constitution protects Ms. Mwinzi from jeopardy as it makes provision for people in such situations seeking to hold State office.

He quoted Article 14 of the Constitution which states:
1) A person is a citizen by birth if on the day of the person’s birth, whether or not the person is born in Kenya, either the mother or father of the person is a citizen.
(2) Clause (1) applies equally to a person born before the effective date, whether or not the person was born in Kenya, if either the mother or father of the person is or was a citizen.

Mwende Mwinzi moved to court on September 18 seeking to have the Kenyan Government send her to South Korea without requiring that she denounces her American citizenship.

According to her, recommendations by a departmental committee that she renounce her U.S. citizenship is illegal, null and void.

She said her counterparts have already taken up their positions but she is yet to be posted which  “…is in violation of her fundamental rights.”

The Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) has since launched investigations into allegations that several State and public officers including MPs and Senators hold dual citizenship.

Article 78(2) of the Constitution stipulates that “A State officer or a member of the defense forces shall not hold dual citizenship.”

The law, however, allows judges and members of commissions to hold dual citizenship.

On April 19 this year, the High Court temporarily suspended implementation of Section 8(4) of the Immigration Act, which prescribes that an individual who fails to disclose his/her dual citizenship within three months is liable to pay a fine of Ksh.5 million, three years imprisonment or both.

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