Activist Okiya Omtatah has written to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to investigate at least 10 legislators who he claims have allegiance to foreign countries as they hold dual nationalities.
In a letter dated October 1, Omtatah wrote to the anti-graft agency to investigate whether the National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale and nine other legislators.
He wants the nine MPs, two Senators and one former MP probed for holding dual citizenship.
Mr Omtatah consequently wants EACC to ascertain if the said MPs are in violation of the Constitution, which bars State officers from holding dual nationalities.
Omtatah said two senators were American citizens, while eight members of the National Assembly and a former MP, who currently holds a top position in a parastatal, also have dual citizenship.
In the letter, Omtatah said that following September 25, 2019 recommendations of a report to the Committee for Defence, which directed Foreign Affairs minister, Ambassador Monica Juma, to run an audit on the nationalities of Kenya’s ambassadors to foreign nations, it would be prudent for the exercise to be extended to Kenyan elected leaders so as to root out those who are occupying the seats illegally due to dual citizenship.
“The Constitution expressly prohibits Members of Parliament from possessing dual nationality if it was acquired through naturalisation,” Omtata says in his letter addressed to the EACC chairperson Eliud Wabukhala.
MPs accused of holding dual citizenship are Kamukunji MP Yusuf Hassan Abdi (UK citizenship), Marsabit Woman Representative Safia Sheikh Adan (Somali and Ethiopian), Mandera South MP Man Haji Ali (Somali), Daadab MP Mohammed Dahir Duale (Somali), Lagdera MP Mohammed Garane (Somali), Mwingi West MP Charles Ngusya Nguna (Greece) and Naivasha MP Jane Kihara (US).
The activist also claimed Narok Senator Olekina Ledama and his Nakuru counterpart Susan Kihika hold both Kenyan and US citizenship.
The activist told EACC that his letter had been prompted by a decision of a parliamentary committee resolution to probe Kenya’s high commissioner to South Korea Mwende Mwinzi for allegedly violating the Constitution by refusing to denounce her US citizenship.
Last month, the Departmental Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations chaired by Kajiado South MP Katoo ole Metito recommended the National Assembly to rescind its decision to approve Ms Mwinzi after she failed to renounce her US citizenship before she takes over the appointment as recommended by the House on June 6, 2019.
“Having scrutinised the report of the Departmental Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations, the House rescinds its resolution, which approved the nomination of Ms Mwinzi for appointment as an ambassador to Seoul, South Korea,” the committee recommends in its report tabled in the House last month.
The House had approved the Defence and Foreign Relations Committee’s report recommending the appointment of all the envoy nominees but with a caveat that Ms Mwinzi renounces her US citizenship in line with the Constitution.
LOSS OF SEATS
Ms Mwinzi, who is a US-born Kenyan, has protested the move and petitioned the High Court to find that the verdict by the Defence and Foreign Relations Committee chaired by Katoo ole Metito was a violation of her rights.
“In the spirit of adhering to the rule of law and applying the law consistently and equally to all, it’s of overwhelming national importance and public interest that our legislators submit themselves to the same standards they have set for diplomats,” says Omtatah.
Ms Mwinzi declined to renounce her US citizenship and instead filed an urgent petition at the High Court to compel CS Juma to designate and post her to Seoul, South Korea, as the country’s envoy, saying she had complied with all the requirements for the position.
Section 31(2) of the Leadership and Integrity Act bars dual citizenship holders from holding State positions.
“A person who holds dual citizenship shall, upon election or appointment to a State office, not take office before officially renouncing their other citizenship in accordance with the provisions of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2011,” the section states.
Article 260 of the Constitution of Kenya lists MPs as state officers, meaning the aforementioned leaders could lose their seats or be forced to renounce their other citizenship if found to be dual citizenship holders.
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