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Economy

Court clears way for Mwinzi to take up envoy posting

Mwende Mwinzi
Mwende Mwinzi when she appeared before National Assembly Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations on May 28. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

It was a win for Kenyans who have acquired citizenship by birth in foreign countries after a judge ruled that they cannot be forced to renounce the same so as to take up public offices.

Justice Aaron Makau further ruled that an ambassador is not a State officer barred by the Constitution from holding dual citizenship. He said they are public officers.

While ruling in a petition filed by Mwende Mwinzi, a nominee for ambassador position to South Korea, Justice Makau said the nominee falls within the category of Article 78(3)(b), which exempts persons made citizens of other countries without the ability to opt out.

According to the judge, the only persons who can be asked to renounce citizenship are the ones who can opt out. Justice Makau added he agrees that citizenship is an inalienable right.

The court said she cannot opt out of a birthright.

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The judge said the appointment is not an event but a process and the move to file the petition before the process was completed was premature. “It is in public interest that the process should be allowed to be completed,” he said.

Ms Mwinzi filed the petition seeking, among other orders, a declaration that after MPs vetting, her appointment was complete.

President Uhuru Kenyatta nominated her on May 2.

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