Members of Parliament on Thursday approved the nomination of Mwende Mwinzi as Kenya’s High Commissioner to Seoul, South Korea, paving the way for her appointment by President Kenyatta.
Mwende's nomination was approved alongside that of Kariuki Mugwe (Abu Dhabi), Peter Angore (Algiers, Algeria), Flora Karugu (Lusaka, Zambia), Michael Mubea (Dublin, Ireland), Diana Kiambuthi (Stockholm, Sweden) and Njambi Kinyungu (UN-Habitat).
There was a heated debate in the National Assembly over the nomination of Ms. Mwinzi, who holds Kenyan and United States citizenship.
MPs resolved that a public officer is also a state officer and must never hold dual citizenship.
This means Ms. Mwinzi must renounce her US citizenship before taking up the job upon appointment.
In a report on Tuesday, the Defense and Foreign Relations Committee recommended that Ms. Mwinzi chooses between her US citizenship and the High Commissioner job.
The Committee's chair Katoo Ole Metito said: “Dual citizenship has consequences. We are not saying she cannot take up the position as an ambassador. We are saying she can renounce the position if the House approves her name."
Majority Leader Aden Duale said Ms. Mwinzi must renounce her second citizenship as demanded by the Leadership and Integrity Act.
“There is nobody denying Mwende Mwinzi a job but she must follow the law and Constitution. She must comply with the provisions of the Leadership and Integrity Act," Duale said.
"If the US President tweets saying all its citizens should leave South Korea, what will Ms. Mwinzi do?. Take the moral high ground; renounce that dual citizenship. It is not going to help you."
Minority Leader John Mbadi said Ms. Mwinzi must relinquish US citizenship.
“We, in this House, have been criticized for approving people with questionable characters. If you don’t renounce the US citizen you will remain as one. Asking her to renounce her citizenship is not asking too much,” he said.