Mwende Mwinzi as Kenyan envoy: High Court to give orders

Thursday October 10 2019
Mwende Mwinzi

Mwende Mwinzi during her vetting by the National Assembly Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations for the position of Kenya's High Commissioner to Seoul, South Korea, May 28, 2019. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


The High Court is set to give further directions in a case in which envoy nominee Mwende Mwinzi is seeking to stop legislators from forcing her to renounce her US citizenship before she takes up her new post.

While Justice James Makau already issued a temporary order, directing that the status quo with regards to her nomination to be maintained pending the hearing and determination of the case, the National Assembly is determined to convince the court otherwise.


As a result, other interested parties have also expressed interest to participate in the court proceedings in order to fight for the rights of thousands of Kenyans in the diaspora who also hold dual citizenship and who could be affected by the issues raised in the case.

In freshly filed court documents, Ms Mwinzi wants the court to consider removing the unlawful condition and protect her from what she has termed as outright discrimination by having her treated differently as well as unfairly.

She is appealing to the foreign affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma to simply consider her deployment just like the rest of the nominees to other countries.


“It is our submission that Ms Mwende has successfully gone through the vetting process by the National Assembly and what remains is her deployment to the Republic of Korea,” said Prof Tom Ojienda her lawyer.

Prof Ojienda added: “it is the duty of the CS to deploy the successful nominees and we therefore urge this court to make orders that her rights have been violated and that she [can be appointed] to a state office.”

However as of Monday when the matter came up in court, the CS had not responded to the case but was granted more time to do so before the matter is mentioned on Friday, tomorrow.

By the time she moved to court, lobbies for Kenyans in the diaspora also raised protests against the legislators’ demands.


According to the Kenya Community Abroad (KCA), they termed the move as a familiar pattern in local politics where backdoor schemes are used to secure high level positions.

Two lobbies, the Kenya Diaspora Alliance and the Center for Diaspora Affairs have asked the court to have them enjoined in the case as interested parties.

But politicians such as AU envoy Raila Odinga has urged legislators to withdraw the decision of compelling Ms Mwinzi to revoke her American citizenship.

On September 24, the committee on implementation recommended that the House rescinds its June 6 resolution against Ms Mwinzi on subjecting her to renounce her US citizenship before taking up the ambassadorial post.

The committee also recommended that Parliament reviews existing legislation to expressly provide for ambassadors and high commissioners as state officers.

It further recommended that an audit be undertaken in 60 days under the initiative of the CS on all serving ambassadors and high commissioners to ascertain whether any of them hold dual citizenship.