The National Assembly has moved to reverse its decision approving Kenyan-American Mwende Mwinzi’s nomination as Kenya’s High Commissioner to South Korea.
The move comes barely two weeks after the High Court ruled that Mwende cannot be forced to renounce her United States citizenship so as to take up the post.
In a ruling dated November 14th, Justice James Makau noted that an ambassador is not a State officer, but a public officer and hence is not required by law to renounce one of his or her citizenship. Justice Makau also ruled that even if the petitioner [Mwende] was appointed to a state office, she is protected under Article 78 of the Constitution.
“No one chooses [his or her] place of birth or parents,” said the judge, adding that being an American citizen by birth, she cannot opt-out.
“Article 78(3) b of the Constitution protects her,” said Justice Makau, adding that “citizenship by birth is an inalienable right which cannot be taken away.”
The Committee on Implementation of House Resolution has asked MPs to quash their earlier decision approving the nomination of Mwende. MPs had approved her nomination to the position in June but on condition that she relinquishes her US citizenship in line with the Constitution.
“The committee recommends that the House rejects the appointment of Ms. Mwinzi as Kenya’s ambassador to Seoul, South Korea,” Moitalel Ole Kenta, said in a report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.
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. The House is expected to approve the report before it goes for Christmas recess. Mwende was nominated to the position by President Kenyatta on May 2nd.