The State yesterday defended its decision to deport lawyer Miguna Miguna.
In a statement signed by the Ministry of Interior spokesman, Mwenda Njoka, the Government said it relied on the old Kenya Constitution, which was repealed in 2010 following the promulgation of the new Constitution, to deprive Miguna of his birthright as the former supreme law did not allow dual citizenship.
According to the statement, when Miguna acquired a Kenyan passport in March 2009, he deliberately failed to disclose the fact that he had acquired citizenship of another country and, therefore, the Kenyan passport he acquired then was and remains illegal.
The current Constitution allows dual citizenship and does not envisage a situation where a Kenyan by birth can be deprived of his nationality.
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The State insisted that Miguna was on Tuesday night deported to Canada based on the provisions of section 33(1) and 43(1) of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2011.
The outspoken lawyer fled Kenya in 1988 using travel documents provided by a foreign country and thereafter he acquired Canadian citizenship and has remained a Canadian citizen since, according to the Government.
“He acquired a Kenyan passport in 2009 at a time when it was illegal for a Kenyan to hold dual citizenship without having denounced the foreign citizenship," the ministry said in a statement.
“In 2009, Miguna made an application for a Kenyan passport at Kisumu Passport Control. Without following the requisite legal process, then Minister for Immigration, Otieno Kajwang, ordered that Miguna be issued with a Kenyan passport,” the statement read.
It added: “The minister’s orders that Miguna be issued with a Kenyan passport without following the proper legal procedure as prescribed by law was illegal and had no backing in law. At the time Miguna was unlawfully issued with a Kenyan passport, he was working as an adviser to then Prime Minister Raila Odinga.”
Prior to this, the statement added, Miguna had applied for a Kenyan passport in 1987 to enable him to travel to Cuba for a students’ conference.
His application was rejected in a letter dated September 12, 1987, which gave Miguna reasons for the rejection. At the time, Miguna was a student leader at the University of Nairobi before he was expelled from the university.
Under the repealed Constitution, Kenyan citizens were allowed only one nationality. Kenyan citizens who acquired other nationalities automatically lost their Kenyan citizenship.
When the new Constitution came into force, Kenyans who had lost their citizenship as a result of acquiring other nationalities were required to officially apply to regain their Kenyan citizenship. “Miguna never did this and therefore continued being a Canadian citizen. Prior to being illegally issued with a Kenyan passport, Miguna had been travelling using Canadian Passport No. MJ 393885 and WK 944502. Miguna renewed his Canadian passport in June 2017 just a few weeks to the General Election,” Njoka added.