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Posts Tagged ‘Dual Citizenship’

Dual citizenship long overdue

Posted by Administrator on November 19, 2009

By Sam Makinda  Posted Friday, November 20 2009 at 00:00

 

The new draft constitution, published on Tuesday, canvasses many issues, but for most Kenyans in the diaspora, one thing that towers above everything else, is dual citizenship.

 

Like the Wako draft constitution, which Kenyans rejected in the 2005 referendum, the new document provides for dual citizenship.

 

It is understandable why a newly independent Kenya decided against dual citizenship in the early 1960s, but the policy was left in place for too long.

 

Most Kenyan policy makers and the public now appear to acknowledge that those who were born Kenyans should not lose their citizenship on account of taking up citizenship elsewhere.

 

They also believe children born to Kenyan parents, wherever they may be, are Kenyan citizens.

 

When I discussed this issue in Nairobi a few years ago, someone commented that dual citizenship would confer clear benefits to the Kenyans in the diaspora who would recover their lost citizenship, but he did not see benefits that would accrue to the country or the majority of Kenyans who live in Kenya.

 

I argued that dual citizenship involves benefits as well as costs to the Kenyan diaspora, but that it was important to view it as a two-way street in which both the country and the individuals affected would benefit.

 

I said also that in the longer-term, the country was likely to benefit far more than these individuals.

 

For example, there are several wealthy Kenyans in the diaspora who are waiting to recover their citizenship before investing substantially in the country, and their investments are likely to generate many jobs, goods and services for Kenyans.

 

Citizenship involves many things and performs various functions, but it ought to be understood in terms of at least three crucial factors: identity or nationality, rights or privileges, and duties or obligations.

 

The Kenyans in the diaspora, who were compelled by the current constitution to give up their Kenyan citizenship because they had become citizens of the countries in which they live and work, would regain their Kenyan identity, rights and obligations once the draft constitution is accepted and implemented.

 

Most countries that have accepted or encouraged dual citizenship have benefited considerably from the resources, skills and services they have received from the diaspora.

 

Without enormous input from the diaspora, China, India, Israel and Taiwan would not be as advanced as they are today.

 

This is partly why the African Union (AU) has encouraged its member states, including Kenya, to tap into the diaspora for investments, technology transfer and other development resources.

 

The AU, which comprises five geographical regions, considers the African diaspora to be its sixth region.

 

The Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs appropriately regards the diaspora as one of the five pillars of foreign policy, in addition to economic, peace, environmental and cultural diplomacy.

 

According to its Sessional Paper of 2009, the Foreign Ministry intends to work with other ministries to invite Kenyans in the diaspora “to invest their skills and resources in the various sectors of national development”.

 

The longer the policy makers take to implement dual citizenship, the more Kenya misses out on crucial investments, technology transfers and other job-creation enterprises.

 

Makinda is a professor of security, terrorism and counter-terrorism studies, Murdoch University Australia.

 -BusinessDailyAfrica.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dual Citizenship In the New Draft Constitution

Posted by Administrator on November 17, 2009

One of the long awaited constitutional changes was availed today…

Dual citizenship

21. (1) A person who is a citizen does not lose citizenship by reason only of acquiring the citizenship of
another country.
(2) A person who as a result of acquiring the citizenship of another country ceased to be a Kenyan
citizen is entitled, on application, to regain Kenyan citizenship.
(3) Parliament shall enact legislation providing for conditions upon which citizenship may be granted to
individuals, other than individuals referred to in clauses (1) and (2), who are citizens of other
countries.
Deprivation of citizenship
22. A person may be deprived of citizenship only if the person acquired citizenship by means
of fraud, false representation or concealment of any material fact.
Residence
2 3 . (1) The following persons may enter and reside in Kenya if they comply with the
conditions prescribed by or under an Act of Parliament governing entry and
residence—
(a) a former citizen;
(b) a foreign wife or widow or foreign husband or widower of a citizen; and
(c) a child of a citizen.
(2) Parliament may enact legislation governing the entry into and residence in Kenya of
other categories of persons and providing for the status of permanent residents.
Responsibilities of a citizen
24. (1) All citizens have the responsibility to—
(a) acquire a basic understanding of the provisions of this Constitution and
promote its ideals and objectives;
(b) respect, uphold and defend this Constitution and the law;
(c) promote democracy, good governance and the rule of law;
18 Harmonized Draft Constitution of Kenya
(d) vote in elections and referenda;
(e) strive to foster national unity and live in harmony with others;
(f) co-operate with law enforcement agencies for the maintenance of law and
order;
(g) pay all due taxes;
(h) not to engage in corruption;
(i) engage in work for the common good and contribute to national
development;
(j) develop their abilities through acquisition of knowledge, continuous
learning and the development of skills;
(k) contribute to the welfare and advancement of the community where they
live;
(l) promote family life and welfare and act responsibly in the context of the
family;
(m) protect and safeguard public property from waste and misuse;
(n) protect the environment and conserve natural resources; and
(o) understand and enhance the Republic’s place in the international
community.
(2) The responsibilities set out in clause (1) apply equally, where appropriate, to noncitizens.
Legislation on citizenship
25. Parliament shall enact legislation—
(a) prescribing procedures by which a person may become a citizen;
(b) providing for voluntary renunciation of citizenship;
(c) prescribing procedures for deprivation of citizenship; and
(d) generally giving effect to the provisions of this Chapter.

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Kenyans abroad should also vote

Posted by Administrator on November 2, 2009

By RAYMOND MUHULAPosted Monday, November 2 2009 at 18:30

 

Kenyans abroad eagerly await the granting of dual citizenship status to those who hold citizenship of the countries in which they are domiciled.

 Dual Citizenship dominated campaign rhetoric within the diaspora in the run-up to the 2007 General Election, especially in conversations with visiting Kenyan politicians. More recently, some MPs have taken the matter to the floor of the House.

 

Nevertheless, the right of Kenyans to vote outside the country would be one of the most important outcomes of this reform dialogue.

 

The population of Kenyans abroad has risen in recent years. Many went as students, while others went as expatriate workers or joined their families.

 While there is no solid estimate on the population of Kenyans abroad, the amount of money these patriots remit to Kenya each year is an indication not only of their numerical strength, but also of their industry and continued engagement with their motherland.

 It is estimated that in 2008 alone, Kenyans abroad sent $2 billion. Additionally, they continue to engage in various charitable causes, building schools, organising health camps, exchange programmes, and even more importantly, marketing Kenya abroad in their interactions with citizens of their adopted countries. Many tourists visit Kenya after hearing enchanting stories from those patriots.

 Kenyans abroad also invest in the country — in real estate, in the stock market, and in transportation. A good portion works for international development agencies, universities and multinational corporations, some in very influential positions.

 Others have been engaged, on temporary duties, to work for the government and share best practices. They have married citizens of the countries where their children are now citizens while their parents are merely visitors. This provides a major conundrum which the dual citizenship provision would cure.

 IT MUST BE RECOGNISED THAT THE right to vote is a fundamental right that Kenyans abroad have been denied since independence. Kenya is among the remaining few countries that do not permit her citizens to vote outside the country.

In its last elections, in the middle of a debilitating war, Iraq made provisions for her citizens abroad to vote. The US allows her citizens to send their ballots by mail, if they cannot vote in person.

 We are not at war, and Kenya has diplomatic posts in many countries. With a little planning, there would be several Kenyans volunteering to work as polls officials at our embassies. The Interim Independent Electoral Commission should make this one of its most important recommendations to Parliament.

As the debate on constituency boundaries, electoral and constitutional reforms continue, Kenyans abroad need to be identified as an important stakeholder that should be engaged in the debate. It is no longer prudent to view this group of bona fide citizens as outsiders with no stake in the future of the country.

 It would be asking too much to create a special seat for Kenyans outside the country. But suffice it to say that, at a minimum, the Constitution needs to be amended to accommodate voting rights.

 Whether this is done as part of the minimum reforms being advocated by various stakeholders or through the broader constitutional reforms that the Committee of Experts is working on, this time around, Kenyans outside the country should not be left out. They deserve the right to take part in the governance of their country.

 Dr Muhula, a political scientist, writes on governance, security, and African politics. (raymuhula@yahoo.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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