Voter wants MP out over triple citizenship

Safia Sheikh Adan Marsabit Woman Rep. [Photo: Courtesy]
A Member of Parliament may lose her seat if found guilty of being a citizen of three countries.

In a new filing at the High Court yesterday, Marsabit Woman Representative Safia Sheikh Adan is alleged to owe allegiance to Kenya, the US and the Federal Republic of Ethiopia.

A resident of Marsabit County, Yahya Mohamud Hassan filed the petition which seeks to declare the MP’s election null and void on the grounds that she has not renounced or relinquished her foreign citizenship to US and Ethiopia to date.

Dual citizenship

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Section 31 of the Leadership and Integrity Act provides that a person who holds dual citizenship shall upon election not take office before officially renouncing their other citizenship in accordance with the provisions of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2011.

According to the documents filed yesterday, the Woman Representative was born in Ethiopia on January 1959 and obtained the US passport on January 5, 2012.

Under the Ethiopian law, any person will be an Ethiopian national by descent where both or either of their parents is Ethiopian. It also states that an infant found abandoned in Ethiopia shall, unless proved to have foreign nationality, be deemed to have been born to an Ethiopian parent and shall acquire Ethiopian nationality.

But a certificate of birth issued by the Registrar of Births in Kenya on February 13, 2012 shows that Safia was born in Moyale in 1960. She got her national identification card in February 20, 1997. The Immigration Department issued her with a Kenyan passport on March 2, 2017.

Through his lawyer Ombati Omwanza, Hassan claims that the politician did not renounce the other citizenship and by taking the oath of office on August 31, 2017.

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By being a tripartite citizen, Hassan claims in the petition in which he has also sued National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi and the Director of Immigration Alexander Muteshi that the MP has sworn allegiance to three states in contravention of the Constitution.

‘Unfit for office’

The petitioner claims that in the US, the oath of allegiance is a verbal statement by which citizens agree to abide by the laws and constitution of the US.

Hassan is seeking a declaration that the oath administered on the Woman Representative immediately after the August polls was unconstitutional, null and void.

He also wants the court to declare that Safia, who was elected on a Jubilee ticket, is ineligible to continue holding the office and all the acts she has done as a woman representative are null and void.

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Hassan is also seeking for a declaration that she reimburses all the salaries and allowances she drew from public funds as a woman representative and the court directs the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to declare the seat vacant.

Member of ParliamentMarsabit Woman Representative Safia Sheikh AdanEthiopiaUSKenyaMarsabit CountyYahya Mohamud HassanEthiopian lawOmbati OmwanzaNational Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi