Kenyans in diaspora oppose Foreign Service Bill

Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo. [Photo: Capital News]

A section of Kenyans in the diaspora have flatly rejected the Foreign Service Bill 2021 on grounds that the proposals unfairly lockout dual citizenship holders from holding diplomatic posts.

The statement signed by Henry Ongeri, Mkawasi Mcharo, Prof David Monda, Kennedy Chesoli, Washington Osiro, David Ochwangi, Prof Wanjala Nasong’o, Ann Kariuki and Dr Saisi Marasa.

The Bill is before the National Assembly for deliberation.

The Kenyans in the diaspora said that there is all intent by some cadres in government to lock them out of diplomatic appointments.

They said that the bill is a tool to disenfranchise them of this right using dual citizenship as an excuse.

For them, there is no justifiable reason as to why dual citizenship holders cannot be appointed as ambassadors, high commissioners or consular representatives.

“There cannot be (and the drafters of the Bill do not bother to advance any), a rational basis or justification for the obviously discriminatory intent and impact of Section 23(3)(a),” part of the statement read according to the Star.

It added: “Perhaps it is an attempt at codification of some personal animus and vendetta harboured by some members of the ruling elite, and now being unleashed at public expense.”

The Kenyans in diaspora noted that many diplomats in the world are of dual citizenship.

They said that they will not be part of “narrow and myopic nationalism” and that they “reject such machinations”.

They cited the 2010 Constitution does not spell any legal requirement barring diplomats who are dual citizenship holders.

Foreign Service Bill 2021 was inspired by the protracted legal battle between the National Assembly and Kenya’s ambassador to South Korea Mwende Mwinzi.

Mwende presented her credentials to South Korea, President Moon Jae-in February, after a protracted court battle.

She holds both Kenyan and American citizenships which put her at crossroads with Parliament during her vetting.

MPs argued that her dual nationality status made it hard to know where her allegiance lies.

The case went to court in 2019 as National Assembly’s Committee on Defence asked her to renounce her American citizenship which she acquired through birth.