Kenya Diaspora Alliance (KDA) has presented a petition to the National Assembly seeking to have specific policy changes targeting Kenyans abroad.
The lobby is using the November 14th ruling by the High Court on dual nationality as a springboard to demand more reforms.
The ruling was made in a case where President Kenyatta’s nominee for Kenya’s High Commissioner to South Korea Mwende Mwinzi, a dual nationality of Kenya and the US, was challenging the decision by MPs to force to renounce her American citizenship.
Justice James Makau ruled that an ambassador is not a State officer, but a public officer and hence is not required by law to renounce his or her citizenship.
Justice Makau also ruled that even if the petitioner [Mwende] was appointed to a state office, she is protected under Article 78 of the Constitution.
“No one chooses [his or her] place of birth or parents,” said the judge, adding that being an American citizen by birth, she cannot opt-out.
“Article 78(3) b of the Constitution protects her,” said Justice Makau, adding that “citizenship by birth is an inalienable right which cannot be taken away.”
MPs had approved her nomination to the position in June but on condition that she renounces her US citizenship in line with the Constitution.
On Tuesday, KDA urged Uhuru to appoint Ms. Mwinzi as the designate High Commissioner to South Korea following the court ruling.
“The ruling has given diaspora confidence. This is a landmark decision for our children,” said Shem Ochuodho, the Global Chairperson of KDA, which represents 12 diaspora associations.
“We are hoping Parliament can go further and create an environment that will attract the diaspora to participate fully in the economic development of this country.”
In its petition to Parliament, KDA has demanded the establishment of a State department of diaspora affairs and a clear policy that will pave way for Kenyans abroad to vote electronically.
The lobby further wants Kenya’s foreign missions to be allowed to provide services for replacement and application of national IDs, certificates of good conduct, and passports among others.
Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi is on Wednesday expected to table a motion in the National Assembly for the formulation of a “comprehensive policy” to harness the diaspora’s contribution, Daily Nation reported.
“[The] contribution by the Kenyan diaspora to the country’s development goes beyond personal remittances to include increased trade links, better access to foreign capital markets, skills and technology transfer, diaspora investment funds, knowledge exchange among others enormous potential benefits,” the MP said in his notice of the motion.
“Cognizant that Kenya has an obligation to counter challenges hindering the diaspora's contribution to national development, this House resolves that the government review and formulate a comprehensive policy and structure to harness the ever-increasing diaspora resources for national development."