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Raila on receiving end after defending embattled Korea envoy nominee Mwende Mwinzi

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga found himself in unfamiliar territory after a section of his loyal supporters blasted him for allegedly defending impunity.

Through a Facebook post on Saturday, October 12, the ODM leader castigated MPs for treating President Uhuru’s envoy appointee to South Korea in a “dubious” manner.

In the post, Raila hailed the diaspora community’s contribution to the country in terms of foreign exchange and went to great lengths to explain why the drafters of the 2010 constitution okeyed dual citizenship.

Eventually, he got into the core subject which was bashing MPs for demanding that Mwinzi renounce her citizenship before she can take office.

It is against this background that I find the treatment of Ms. Mwende Mwinzi by our Parliament extremely disturbing and dubious.

The whole debate around whether she qualifies to be Kenya’s ambassador has cast her as a criminal and reduced her to being less Kenyan than the Members of Parliament while the spirit of letter of the law should protect her.

Opposition to Mwende’s appointment amounts to killing the spirit and necessity of dual citizenship through which Kenyans sought equal rights abroad and at home to enable them contribute to the development of our nation,” he wrote.

The former prime minister further said Mwinzi’s American citizenship was as a special situation.

“ ..However, she cannot denounce any because both have been acquired not by application and naturalization but by operation of the law. She cannot undo her birth in the USA; neither can she undo her sire by her father or his Kenyan citizenship,” said Raila.

However, the former prime minister’s stand did not go well with a chunk of his supporters who supported MPs stand on the issue.

Thomas Fabio Odhiambo Omar: With all due respect I strongly disagree with this position you have taken. An ambassador is a position with delicate, sensitive and serious responsibilities on behalf of the republic of Kenya that it cannot be left in the hands officers of whose allegiance is to more than one country. There are many Kenyans better qualified than this lady who could best serve the interest this country in this position.

Fuata Nyuki: We respectfully disagree baba.. Some sensitive posts should not be held by people holding dual citizenship.. If we follow that direction, we are going to hand important organs of state to foreigners..

We cannot have our cake and eat it..

Eric Ochanji II: Mwende Mwinzi cannot be more of a citizen than Miguna Miguna. Let’s treat all equally before the law and the constitution. Miguna Miguna was born here of Kenyan parents. Equity demands that we bring Miguna back here first then make a passionate appeal for Mwende Mwinzi. First come first serve. Hakuna dhambi ndogo.

US-born Mwende Mwizi. Parliament recommended that she she disowns her US citizenship before she takes office as Kenya’s ambassador to South Korea. Photo: Nation

Anne-marie Onyango: What does the LAW say about state officials and their nationality? Amend the law first!!! We cannot always do things through the back door!!!

Enrique Iglesius: Not really daddy. You have clearly indicated that the most and priority reason for allowing dual citizenship was to allow our sons and and daughters in diaspora to get jobs and opportunities in DIASPORA. Well, our constitution was lenient to permit and accommodate them .BUT!! But not to get jobs in Kenya

Wes Geoffrey: there are many qualified Kenyans who can take up that job,we don’t need people with dual citizens to hold state office for where will they pledge there loyalty????

Derick Odemba: There is a reason why certain state jobs require an individual to pledge allegiance to one country. As an ambassador, if Kenya has a dispute with the US, which country will she support?

Article 78 (2) of the Constitution which clearly stipulates that a State officer or a member of the defence forces shall not hold dual citizenship.

In June, 2019 the National Assembly Departmental Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations tabled a report approving six nominees and put a condition on  Mwinzi that she renounces her American citizenship in line with section 31 of Leadership and Integrity Act.

Mwinzi however filed a petition at the High Court saying MPs recommendations do not hold in her case as she was not a state officer.

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