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Economy

Dual citizens cannot vie for MP, says court

Mr Justice David Majanja. Photo/File
Mr Justice David Majanja. Photo/File 

Dual citizens are not eligible to seek election as members of Parliament, the High Court ruled Monday.

Justice David Majanja dismissed a case filed by Bishop Donald Kisaka Mwawasi, an aspirant for Taita Taveta senatorship on Agano party, shutting the door on Kenyans holding Kenyan and other passports to run for public office.

Already, the Constitution bars them from running to be President or Deputy President.

The Constitution defines a state officer as “a person holding a state office”, including that of MP.

“By virtue of Article 78(2), a person who holds dual citizenship cannot run for elective office as a member of Parliament,” ruled Justice Majanja. Article 78 (2) of the Constitution bars State officers from holding dual citizenship.

Judge Majanja further ruled that the provision in the Constitution cannot be challenged before any court. The two chamber Parliament includes the National Assembly and the Senate.

Bishop Mwawasi, a Kenyan citizen by birth, acquired US citizenship in July last year. He was challenging the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) decision to stop him from contesting in the March 4 General Election.

He was seeking court orders barring the IEBC from rejecting his nomination for Taita Taveta senator position.

He had argued in his affidavit that the Constitution does not prohibit dual citizenship and allegiance to a foreign State for elective offices save for that of President and Deputy President.

He was asking the court to declare that save for these two, a person with dual citizenship cannot be barred from contesting for other elective posts.

Bishop Mwawasi was relying on Article 99, which does not make any reference to the dual citizenship or allegiance to foreign office in the list of the qualifications for the members of Parliament.

He was also challenging Article 260, which lists members of Parliament as state officers, saying it was inconsistent with other articles in the Constitution.

His was the latest case filed by Kenyans living in the diaspora agitating for their right to participate in the coming General Election.

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