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For better or for worse, Mwinzi can't be envoy

Perhaps we should amend the Constitution to allow state officers to be dual citizens until they become so senior

In Summary

• Constitution says a state officer cannot be a dual citizen

• Some countries allow senior officials to be dual citizens

Mwende Mwinzi
Mwende Mwinzi
Image: FILE

There is a dispute going on about whether Mwende Mwinzi is entitled to become Kenyan ambassador to South Korea as she is a dual citizen of Kenya and the US.

The Constitution is unambiguous. Clause 78 (2) states, "a State Office or a member of the defence forces shall not hold dual citizenship."

Kenya's ambassador to South Korea is a state officer because she is paid by the state. Some MPs are making a weird argument that ambassadors are 'public officers' and not 'state officers' but the constitution makes no such distinction. Mwinzi's nomination should be withdrawn.

 

However the Constitution is perhaps too stringent on dual citizenship. The American army allows Kenyans and Ugandans to serve. Somali President Mohamed Farmajo is a US citizen. In 2016 British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson only gave up his American citizenship because he did not want to pay taxes in America.

Perhaps we should amend the Constitution to allow state officers to be dual citizens until they become so senior, or go into such sensitive positions, that it could jeopardise national security.

Quote of the day: "The act of witnessing is important to me; somebody's got to tell the truth."

Athol Fugard
The South African playwright was born on June 11, 1932