At least 10 MPs could lose their seats in a dual nationality storm after an activist convinced the national anti-graft watchdog to investigate their foreign allegiance.
Last evening, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) said it was checking claims some MPs were holding foreign passports, which could be illegal under the law.
And though EACC chief executive officer Twalib Mbarak said all public officers will be investigated, the action came after activist Okiya Omutatah asked the commission to investigate 10 sitting MPs, and one former legislator who served the term while allegedly holding a foreign passport.
“EACC has launched investigations to verify these allegations with a view to taking appropriate action against the public officers in accordance with the law,” said Mr Mbarak in a statement.
“Such action could include initiating mechanism for removal from office for violating Chapter Six of the Constitution.”
Such claims, if found true, could be the ultimate boomerang on Parliament, after it suggested Kenya’s Ambassadorial nominee to South Korea, Mwende Mwinzi, must renounce her American citizenship before taking the job.
Ms Mwinzi termed the move illegal and sued. The case will be heard on Monday after the National Assembly was allowed to be enjoined as an interested party.
Through his Kenyans for Justice and Development NGO, Mr Omtatah said the investigation will be in the spirit of “applying the law consistently”.
“We are requesting the EACC to conduct an audit of all MPs for the purposes of establishing if any of them have allegiance to foreign nations via citizenship and/or the possession of instruments as green cards,” he said.
On Thursday, the Kenya Diaspora Alliance, which had raised similar claims last week, applied to be enjoined in Ms Mwinzi’s suit, saying it represents 30 diaspora associations.
“The applicant will demonstrate to the honourable court that there was gross violation of the Constitution by the parliamentary committee by purporting to reject the applicant’s nomination on the grounds of her dual citizenship,” the alliance said through their lawyers Ollando, Misare and Associates.
Dr Shem Ochuodho, the Global chairperson of the lobby that represents associations of Kenyans abroad, said National Assembly could be admitting failure in its past vetting as well.
“Why the double standards? Our information is that very senior people in government hold dual nationality including MPs themselves,” Dr Ochuodho told the Nation.
“Ambassadors are people with very low thresholds, they are not State officers. MPs who should have declared their nationalities did not and we want that found out,” he added.
On Wednesday last week, the National Assembly’s Committee on Implementation said Ms Mwinzi’s approval as an envoy should be rescinded for refusal to renounce her US citizenship.
Some of the MPs alleged to hold dual nationality sat in the committee that vetted the envoys.
The MPs Mr Omtatah claims hold dual nationality are Aden Duale, Yusuf Hassan, Safia Abdi. Adan Haji Ali, Mohammed Dahir Duale, Mohammed Garane, Charles Ngusya Nguna, Jane Kihara, Ledama Ole Kina, and Susan Kihika.