President Kenyatta’s nominee for Kenyan High Commissioner to South Korea Mwende Mwinzi claims that she is being discriminated against by Kenyan MPs.
Speaking during an interview with The Sunday Standard, Mwende, a Kenyan-American, said MPs were taking advantage of the fact that she was born in the US to deny her the chance to serve Kenya.
MPs have insisted that Mwende must renounce her American citizenship before taking up the ambassadorial position. MPs cite section 31(1) of the Leadership and Integrity Act, which bars persons with dual citizenship from holding State offices unless they renounce one.
However, Mwende said MPs misinterpreted the law on dual citizenship, adding that she is being punished for the choices made by her parents.
“This is not about me, although it does affect me. This is about the many Kenyans who ought to be mainstreamed into Kenya’s development and leadership. It cannot be that for all that we do for our country, and all that it does for us, we suddenly become strangers in times like these,” Mwende told The Standard.
Last week, Mwende filed a case at the high court seeking to block MPs’ move to force her to relinquish her US citizenship before assuming the role. In court documents, she argues that the move amounts to a violation of her constitutional rights.
“My US citizenship was acquired by birth and as such, my citizenship or the process of opting in was a consequence of circumstances out of my control,” Mwinzi argues in an affidavit.
“I did not participate in the decision to be born in the US and I cannot “opt-out” of that decision. Article 78(3) (b) would only be applicable to people who opted in by applying for citizenship and renunciation would be the process of ‘opting out’,” she adds.
Mwende listed Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma and Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki as respondents.
During the Sunday interview, Mwende displayed her Kenyan national ID card, birth certificate and Moran of the Burning Spear (MBS) badge of honor.
She was born in Milwaukee, US, of Kenyan father Maluki Mwinzi and American mother Mary Christine Geil.