Mwende Mwinzi sues to keep US citizenship

Mwende Mwinzi
Mwende Mwinzi parliamentary vetting on May 28. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Ambassadorial nominee to South Korea Mwende Mwinzi is suing to stop MPs from forcing her to renounce her US citizenship before she takes the job.

In a case that could determine how Kenyans in the diaspora may get involved in government jobs in the future, Ms Mwinzi whom the National Assembly approved for the job on condition that she gave up her US citizenship, says it would be a violation of her rights to be forced out of something she did not choose.

The key question in the case filed last evening at the Constitutional and Human Rights Division of the High Court is whether persons born of Kenyan parents abroad should relinquish their foreign nationality to be allowed to serve in the Kenya government.

“My US citizenship was acquired by birth and as such, my citizenship or the process of opting in was a consequence of circumstances out of my control,” she argues in an affidavit.

“I did not participate in the decision to be born in the US and I cannot “opt out” of that decision. Article 78(3) (b) would only be applicable to people who opted in by applying for citizenship and renunciation would be the process of ‘opting out’,” she argued referring to the law that exempts people who cannot opt out of dual nationality.