The Kenya Diaspora Alliance (KDA) has rallied support for President Kenyatta's nominee for Kenya’s High Commissioner to Seoul, South Korea Ms. Mwende Mwinzi.
The diaspora lobby group wants Ms. Mwende appointed to the position regardless of her dual citizenship.
On Tuesday, the National Assembly Defense and Foreign Relations Committee recommended the approval of Ms. Mwende's nomination but on condition that she renounces her United States citizenship.
In an open letter addressed to National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, KDA Chairman Dr. Shem Ochuodho said Ms. Mwende should not be forced to renounce her US citizenship in order to be appointed to the position.
“KDA considers that the matter of renouncing other citizenship is no longer a “Mwende issue” but an affront on all diaspora, dual citizens, women, children of Diasporas and all future generations of Kenyans residing abroad,” noted Ochuodho.
On Wednesday, Speaker Muturi said Mwende's fate lies with the Members of Parliament. He explained that as Standing Order 122 provides, he has no vote in the House and his only role is to preside over its business.
“It does not make sense to write to me because where the matter stands, it’s for the House to make a decision," Muturi said.
"The committee did its work and came up with a report perfectly within the House rules, the law and the Constitution."
KDA did not present its views to the vetting committee by way of memoranda as per the public notices put in newspapers.
Section 31 (1) of the Leadership and Integrity Act states that a State officer who acquires dual citizenship shall lose the position.
Subsection two notes that “a person who holds dual citizenship shall, upon election or appointment to a State office, not take office before officially renouncing the other citizenship in accordance with the provisions of Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2011".
However, Ochuodho argues that Article 234 (3) of the constitution distinguishes ambassadors and diplomatic officers as unique ‘public officers’, with very distinct attributes to those of ‘State officers’.