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Dual citizenship shocker for Diaspora

Posted by Administrator on April 12, 2012

By Chris Wamalwa in USA

Kenyans in the Diaspora who acquired citizenship of other countries before the promulgation of the New Constitution must apply to regain Kenyan citizenship.

The Constitution Implementation Commission Mr Charles Nyachae told a meeting attended by Kenyans living in Canada that majority of them assume that they regain citizenship due to the Dual Citizenship clause

“According to the constitution, the moment you acquired citizenship of another country (before August 2010), the operational piece of the constitution kicked in and you automatically lost your Kenyan citizenship making you a “foreigner” in your own country,” said Nyachae, chairman of CIC.

Nyachae urged those in the Diaspora to apply to re-gain your Kenyan citizenship.

He also disclosed that it will be a crime for any Kenyan not to disclose, within three months, to the Kenyan government that they have acquired citizenship of another country.

The CIC chairman said one will be liable to a jail time if they are caught in Kenya and a fine of up to Sh5 million.

“We urge Kenyans living in Canada to take a keener interest in some of these developments because a criminal record for instance can mess up somebodyfs life,” said Mr Simon Nabukwesi, Kenyan High Commissioner to Canada.

Majority of Kenyans living abroad who acquired citizenship of the countries where they are settled before the “dual citizenship” kicked in have always assumed that they can go back to Kenya and run for elective government positions.

Many have shown interest in running for parliament, senate and even county positions.

“The reality is that such persons do not qualify as the law says you lost your Kenyan citizenship. You must first apply to re-gain your Kenyan citizenship and then wait for a period of 10 years before you can run for elective government position in Kenya,” said Ben Ondoro, chairman of Kenyan Community in Ontario (KCO).

The meeting between CIC and Diaspora was organized by the Kenyan High Commissioner to Canada Mr Simon Nabukwesi in collaboration with the Kenyan community in Ontario (KCO).@

The CIC delegation included Chairman Charles Nyachae, Dr Florence Omosa, Mr Philemon Mwaisaka and Prof Peter Wanyande.

Source: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/InsidePage.php?id=2000056112&cid=4&ttl=Dual%20citizenship%20shocker%20for%20Diaspora


20 Responses to “Dual citizenship shocker for Diaspora”

  1. cnimm said

    Good to know. I guess this is also an admission that the government broke its own laws when a Canadian worked in the Prime Minister’s office.

    • Jack Chimodzi said

      No Cnimm, no law was broken by hiring a Canadian in the prime Minister’s office, foreigners are allowed to work in Kenya and no law stipulates that ONLY Kenyan citizens can be employed at the PM’s office. Just like a foreign lawyer can represent a Kenyan in Kenya ….

      • cnimm said

        Thanks Jack but the guy was never hired as a Canadian. He was hired as a Kenyan. A foreigner needs a work permit and none was applied for. The justification used by Kajwang (The Minister for Immigration) was that a Kenyan can only lose citizenship by denunciation. How come Kenyans are losing it without denouncing?

      • Very interesting. I am on it like there is no tomorrow.

  2. The best legal remedie that would not hurt any Kenyan is to GrandFather those who became dual citizens prior to the Promulgation of the New Constitution. There are some legal remedies available for prejudiced Kenyans but those in positions of leadership must not create unnecessary hurdles for Kenyans. How long have they known this? To right each others wrongs because the Constitution of the Republic of Kenya was supposed to be re-written ages before 2010, can everyone in leadership today who is seeking to inflict legal pain on a Kenyan somewhere in the Diaspora agree to GrandFather Kenyans under the Dual Citizenship clause? This action would be in the best interests of protecting the rights of any Kenyan and not discarding them. The right to suffrage is an inalienable right. Because politicians, and the very people who legislate laws (your MPs in Parliament) took forever to come up with the New Constitution, it is not the fault of any Kenyan who could not become a dual citizen upon accepting that of another country. Can parliament and the leadership in Kenya right this wrong? Time will tell. Kenyans need a leader who is willing to fight for their rights tooth-and-nail at Home and in the Diaspora. I urge you all to rally behind me, George Kenyatta Muumbo and my TEAM for Kenya, in my Presidential Campaign, 2013. Godbless my friends. Cheers.

  3. cnimm said

    I am not writing to challenge anyone but it will be in the interest of Diasporans that the law be applied equally on everyone. A North-Eastern parliamentary candidate was declared a foreigner in the 2002 elections because he had acquired Australian citizenship. Fast forward to 2008: A Canadian lawyer was appointed as the PM’s Coalition adviser (a position senior to a PS) without having to obtain a work permit. When challenged, Kajwang said the guy never renounced his Kenyan citizenship and obtaining foreign citizenship does not yield an automatic loss of the Kenyan one. Why, then, are diasporans losing the citizenship they never renounced? Can the law be applied equally to all?

  4. macharia said

    This shows how our govnt dont care about diaspora despite playing a major role in building the economy. We need real leaders who cares and willing to listen to us. Am pretty sure if these leaders care ,they can work on something that will be beneficial to us and also to our beloved country kenya. Thats why they dont care about diaspora votes in this years election.

  5. Ugly Betty said

    Law is supposed to be progressive not Regressive, I dont know how you can obtain citizenship of another country
    without denouncing your country of birth, Unless of course both countries allows Dual Citizenhip
    We wanted a constistution, we go it and we have to abide. I dont care whether I lost my kenyan citizenship or not. I denounced and applied another citizenry because I wanted Out, so Guys stop whining, obey the Law and be happy of what you put yourself into.
    If kajwang/Odinga and others erred in what they did then criminal judges should be brought against them
    and whatever that guys name is should pay all the taxes he owes the kenyan nation.

    • cnimm said

      We are not whining Betty. There are two interpretations of the citizenship act. One tells about renunciation–which Kajwang (a lawyer) alludes to. The one we heard last week talked of automatic loss. Going by precedent, someone has been denied and another has been granted using either version. Why apply the automatic loss to the majority? Please note that I am not dying to become Kenyan again but I am fighting for some sober principle to be upheld.

  6. leo said

    Dual this,dual that does not help anything other than cause pain. Stick with one. Last time I visited Kenya I noticed Signs in the airport asking travellers to stay in the proper lane. Don’t some people go to wrong lanes? Kenyans first and the rest is second.Coming back was not so easy either. They looked and looked again and then they said “OK go right ahead and did you know that you also qualify to be a US citizen”? I said, yes I know.

  7. As promised to you earlier, I have concluded legal research on this issue pertinent to the Laws of Kenya. Part III of the ACT is very clear on Citizenship and its Dual Citizen Clause unquestionably enumerates the rights of Kenyans to RETAIN Dual Citizenship subject to the provisions of the ACT and the Constitution of Kenya.

    Dual citizenship.
    8. (1) A citizen of Kenyan by birth who acquires the citizenship of another country shall be entitled to retain the citizenship of Kenya subject to the provisions of this Act and the limitations, relating to dual citizenship, prescribed in the Constitution.


  8. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kenyatta-for-President-Kenya-2012/244864405575089

  9. Stephen Tuju said

    Nyachae is not the constitution court and is not charged with the duty of interpreting the constitution. being chairman of the implementation vehicle does not make him a constitutional court. The old constitution was clear that to lose kenya citizebship, one had to renounce it and formaly complete renounciation forms before the kenya consulate in whichever country one is acquiring citizebship from. As recently as january 22nd a judge rulrd that no kenyan by birth can lose citizenship merely by acquiring that of another country. Losing citizenship is not automatic upon acquisition of another. You must complete the renounciation process formally at the consulate. If you do not formally renounce before the consulate then kenya still considers you a citizen. it’s that simple. Here is a link and also a copy&paste of a piece referencing the recent case in which a judge concluded that no kenya can lose citizebship by mere a acquisition of another. http://kenyapolitical.blogspot.com/2010/02/miguna-miguna-judge-proved-i-am-true.html

    Justice L. Kimaru released a landmark decision on the issue of citizenship on January 22. That decision puts to rest the odious attacks on me by the PNU and other malicious detractors over the unfounded allegation that I lost my citizenship because I allegedly acquired Canadian citizenship and passport.

    PNU busybodies went berserk and called on the Prime Minister to fire me purportedly for “working illegally”. They went further and demanded that I be prosecuted for “lying” about my “status”. They knew that I have never lost my citizenship. They also knew that I have never lied about my status; nor have I broken any laws. They know that I have never renounced my Kenyan citizenship. But they do not care. Their intention is to besmirch my reputation with dirt.

    Now the High Court has said: “Wait a minute; a Kenyan citizen by birth does not and cannot lose his/her citizenship merely by acquiring a foreign one or passport; he can only do that if or when he renounces his citizenship, and the person advancing the allegation of loss of citizenship has the burden of proof!”

    That was my position all along. I kept telling the Kenyan media that they were wrong to clutch on straws; that the onus was on PNU and the idlers to prove their allegations by adducing credible evidence.

    It all started with an election petition by Mahamud Muhumed Sirat against the MP for Wajir South, Abdulrahman Ali Hassan. Sirat had sought to nullify the election of Hassan. In response, Hassan made an application seeking to dismiss the petition with costs on the basis that Sirat was not a Kenyan citizen.

    He argued that Sirat had voluntarily acquired the citizenship of Australia and therefore owed allegiance to the Government of Australia. Hassan further argued that the petitioner, being Australian, was not eligible or ought not to have been registered as a voter in Kenya and could not have qualified to be elected an MP in Kenya. Finally, Hassan argued that Sirat lacked legal and constitutional capacity to institute or to proceed with the petition.

    In response Sirat argued that Hassan’s application was frivolous, vexatious, incompetent and an abuse of the court process. He said the application was only meant to frustrate him from prosecuting the petition. Sirat asserted that he was a citizen by birth; both his parents being Kenyan. He indicated that he had valid Kenyan national identity card and passport, duly issued by the immigration department.

    Finally, Sirat denied ever having renounced his Kenyan citizenship in preference for an Australian one. He produced copies of his birth certificate, national identity card and Kenyan passport as evidence of citizenship. Sirat also produced copies of his academic certificates to establish the schools he attended in Kenya.

    In his judgment, Justice Kimaru said Sirat, “by virtue of his birth in Kenya, and the fact that both his parents are citizens of Kenya, is entitled (to) citizenship of Kenya.” The judge said section 97(1), (3) and (7) of the Constitution of Kenya does not deprive a Kenyan citizen by birth of his citizenship upon acquiring nationality of another country.

    He opined that sections 88, 90, 92, 93, 94, 95 and 97 of the Constitution only “prohibited persons of a particular category who are citizens of other countries at the time Kenya attained independence”.

    The judge ruled that those sections “not apply to citizens of Kenya who acquired citizenship by virtue of their birth from acquiring citizenship of another country after attaining 21 years of age.”

    And finally, Judge Kimaru threw a judicial left-hook clincher: “Even assuming that the petitioner had indeed acquired Australian citizenship, there is nothing in the constitution that specifically prohibits the petitioner from acquiring such citizenship while at the same time retaining his Kenyan citizenship provided that Australian law allows for its citizens to acquire and have dual nationality.”

    The only “exception is when a person specifically renounces his Kenyan citizenship and acquires citizenship of another country that does not allow dual citizenship”.

    Hassan produced no evidence that Sarit renounced his Kenyan citizenship. He also failed to prove that Australia does not accept dual citizenship. As such, the judge ruled that Sarit remains a Kenyan citizen.

    The possession of a Kenyan national identity card and passport, the judge ruled, are prima facie evidence of citizenship. Justice Kimaru said the court “lacks jurisdiction to invalidate or declare invalid a national identity card” which has been duly issued.

    With this milestone judgment, Kenyans have hope in the reorientation and reform of our judiciary.

    The writer is Prime Minister’s adviser on coalition affairs and joint secretary to the Permanent Committee on the Management of Grand Coalition Affairs. The opinions expressed here are his own.

    • cnimm said

      Thanks George and Stephen. If that has been decided by the courts, then Nyachae and co. had no business coming to scare Kenyan Diasporans in Canada. I am hoping they are not going to say they were misquoted by the media.

  10. Wanjiru said

    So if I understand clearly, it is now legal to apply for a dual citizenship. More precisely, i want to aplly for a french citizenship next month. Is there any action to be taken towards kenyan government in that case ? Should I inform the Kenayan embassy in Paris for instance ?

    Thanks for your help

    • gnm said

      you dont have to inform kenyan goverment.i have visited kenya several times now.when getting i present my kenya passport gets a stamp when am leaving i present kenyan passport together with USA passport and they only stamp kenyan passport..

      • joy said

        Thanks for the info gnm now i know what to do on my next visit.

      • Wanjiru said

        Thanks for the informations Gnm 🙂

      • Kenyans will always be a kenyan even if he/she became a usa citizen or any other citizen, I always hear kenyans who are u.s citizen saying Iam going home [meaning kenya] next month or so.

      • cnimm said

        Most Kenyans do love their country. If people can get jobs on merit and something is done about insecurity, very few would want to freeze in the West. Regarding presenting 2 passports at the airport, one has to be very careful because it is highly suspicious to travel with both. A suspicious customs officer has enough grounds to cause a delay in departure. Not every rule is written in black and white. Also, the customs officer has discretion in matters surrounding suspicion.

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