Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi has called for repealing of constitutional provisions that bar Kenyans holding dual citizenship from taking up State positions or seeking election to office.
Mudavadi said Kenyans should not be denied the chance to serve their motherland by virtue of holding two citizenships.
He was referring to the case of President Kenyatta’s nominee for Kenyan High Commissioner in South Korea, Mwende Mwinzi, who is being forced to renounce her US citizenship before assuming the role.
Mwende, a Kenyan-American, has filed a case at the high court seeking to stop MPs from forcing her to relinquish her American citizenship before being deployed to Seoul.
MPs cited section 31(1) of the Leadership and Integrity Act, which bars persons with dual citizenship from holding State offices unless they renounce one.
Speaking during Kenya Diaspora Conference in New Jersey on Saturday, Mudavadi said all Kenyans are entitled to full enjoyment of civil rights regardless of their citizenship status.
“It is confounding that the law should ask you to drop one of your citizenships in order for you to play your role for your motherland,” said Mudavadi.
“It’s not enough to tell Kenyans they have multiple citizenships while also denying them a citizen’s right. Your citizenship is not worth the paper on which it is written if citizenship participation discriminates against you,” he added.
He also said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) must ensure Kenyans in the diaspora are registered as voters and participate in the next general election.
“Technology should not be an issue anymore. I don’t think that it is the hindrance, the challenge remains the kind of electoral authorities we have in Africa,” he said.
“In Kenya, the IEBC remains a thorn in the flesh and we cannot remain silent about it anymore. We must reform the IEBC. The new commission must put in place simple, credible and verifiable mechanisms for the diaspora to vote come 2022."
Mudavadi was a keynote speaker at the summit along Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua, Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ababu Namwamba and activist Boniface Mwangi.
On her part, Karua urged Kenyans abroad to demand good services on top of sending money home.
“Don’t just send money to relatives, influence them to choose the right leaders and to say no to stealing,” Karua said.