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Pick for envoy job in citizenship dilemma

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Pick for envoy job in citizenship dilemma

Mwende Mwinzi when she appeared before National Assembly Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations on May 28. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Ms Mwende Mwinzi will be posted as Kenya High Commissioner to Seoul, South Korea, if she renounces her US citizenship, a House committee, which vetted her suitability for the job has recommended.

The Defence and Foreign Relations Committee chaired by Kajiado South MP Katoo ole Metito, vetted seven nominees last week and yesterday, it presented its report to the House recommending the appointment of the nominees but with a disclaimer on Ms Mwinzi’s approval.

“The committee recommends that Ms Mwinzi be appointed subject to her renouncing her US citizenship,” said Mr Metito.

The process preceding clearance of an individual appointed an envoy to another country takes time, meaning that Ms Mwinzi will at least have time to decide, which country her allegiance lies considering that envoys act as spies.

The US has a lot of interest in the Korean peninsula.

The House is expected to vote on the report Thurday either approving or rejecting it.

If approved, the names will be taken to the President for formal appointment.

During the vetting last week, Mr Katoo said the matter of Ms Mwinzi would be a precedent after she admitted that she is also a US citizen.

But Ms Mwinzi defended herself saying she did not have powers to choose where to be born.

“I was born in the US but I belong to Kenya. You can choose where to belong but you cannot choose where to be born.

I cannot tell my parents to conceive me and deliver me elsewhere,” she said.

The committee’s recommendation on her appointment is founded under Section 31 (1) of the Leadership and Integrity Act, which provides that a State officer who acquires dual citizenship shall lose his or her position as a State officer.

Subsection two says a person who holds dual citizenship shall, upon election or appointment to a State office, not take office before officially renouncing their other citizenship in accordance with the provisions of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act.



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