DUAL CITIZENSHIP

Court to rule on envoy nominee case in November

Parliament says the issue is political and court should decline to adjudicate it

In Summary
  • National Assembly lawyer says dual citizenship of an ambassador raises question of conflict of interest
  • But nominee's lawyers say Article 78 of the Constitution allows dual citizenship
Envoy nominee Mwende Mwinzi
PETITIONER: Envoy nominee Mwende Mwinzi
Image: COURTESY

The High Court will deliver judgement in November in a case in which envoy nominee Mwende Mwinzi is seeking to stop legislators from forcing her to renounce her US citizenship before she takes up the post.

Justice James Makau said he will deliver his judgement on November 14, noting that he already issued a temporary order, directing that the status quo with regards to Mwinzi's nomination be maintained pending the hearing and determination of the case.

The National Assembly has however responded to Mwinzi’s application saying that approval is not a rubber stamp by the National Assembly.

 

“In this case, specialized committees of the National Assembly vetted the petitioner and made resolutions which were adopted by the House. It is a political process to be conducted by other arms of the government and not Judiciary,” Anthony Njoroge, lawyer for National Assembly, said.

He said the court should decline to adjudicate the petition because it raises political questions which the Constitution has assigned to other institutions for resolution.

Njoroge said the process of appointment was yet to be concluded.

He told the court that the National Assembly had made its resolutions to the President.

Njoroge told the court it should decline to determine a political question between the Legislature and the Executive.

“An ambassador or a diplomat is a representative of the interests of a sending state. Where a person has dual citizenship, the conflict of interests is certainly a reality,” Njoroge said.

Mwinzi through lawyers Tom Ojienda and Charles Omanga urged the court to consider Article 78 of the Constitution that allows dual citizenship.

“Ambassadors are not classified as state officers as alleged by the National Assembly lawyers,” Ojienda said.

He said Mwinzi is covered by Article 260 of the Constitution which indicates that ambassadors and high commissioners are not state officers.

“Mwinzi having been vetted by Parliament qualifies for the appointment and barring her violates Article 37 of the Constitution and Article 47,” Ojienda said.

Ojienda said Mwinzi cannot change the fact that she was born by an American mother and a Kenyan father.

“It is our submission that Ms Mwende has successfully gone through the vetting process by the National Assembly and what remains is her deployment to the Republic of Korea,” he said.