The Government’s crackdown on Opposition leaders continued on Tuesday when the Immigration Department revoked the passports of 14 NASA politicians.
The director of immigration Maj-Gen (rtd) Gordon Kihalangwa, who has been nominated for post of principal secretary for border control and registration of persons, gave the leaders 21 days to give up their passports.
“They will be in our watch list and will not be able to use them to travel. They have 21 days to surrender them to my office,” he said.
He said the security agencies were investigating the individuals over various issues, which warranted the move.
But some of the leaders whose passports have been suspended vowed to ignore the directive.
Those who have received the letters include Siaya Senator James Orengo, self-declared NRM general Miguna Miguna, and businessman Jimi Wanjigi.
Economist David Ndii, NASA chief executive Norman Magaya, and former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama have also received the letters.
Muthama said he was to travel to London to take his daughter for further studies when he received the letter.
“When I went to check in for my flight to London together with my daughter, I was told my passport had been revoked. I feel sad that as a country, we have sunk so low,” he said.
He said: “I will not be intimidated by a government that has lost focus. How do you explain a situation where a government cripples the nation? It was the media last time, today it is those in the Opposition. Every Kenyan has a reason to worry because of the monster that Jubilee has become.”
“Pursuant to Section 31(1)(2) of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act 2011, you are hereby notified that passports number…. which are in your possession remain suspended forthwith,” Kihalangwa said in his letter.
“Consequently, you are required to surrender the passports to the director of immigration services at Nyayo House 9th floor within 21 days of receipt of this notice,” says the letter sent to Wanjigi.
Wanjigi termed the order illegal and abusive and vowed to challenge it.
The law gives the Government powers to withdraw one’s passport if the holder gives it out for use to someone else or is convicted of terrorism, money laundering, drug trafficking, or any other international crime.
A similar action may be taken if an arrest warrant has been issued against a passport holder, or if the holder has been involved in forging documents.
Magaya also termed the order illegal and said he would challenge it in court.
Lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi termed the directive illegal. “Ten years ago, a three-judge bench of the High Court ruled that the right to a passport was a constitutional right. The right to travel is in the Bill of Rights,” Mr Abdullahi said on Tuesday.
This was in relation to a case in which businessman Deepak Kamani had sued the State after the immigration department confiscated his passport.
“The High Court declared a passport was issued for enjoyment of fundamental rights. The immigration department had no power to cancel or invalidate the respondents’ passports and that the cancellation of the respondents’ passports without due process was unconstitutional,” the court said.
NASA leader Raila Odinga and his co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetang’ula, and Musalia Mudavadi are not among the 14 whose passports have been suspended.