MPs threaten to deny Kenya embassy in Korea cash over Mwende Mwinzi’s appointment

Kenya Ambassador to South Korea Mwende Mwinzi presents her credentials to President Moon Jae in Seoul on February 17, 2021/  YONHAP

MPs have threatened to withhold funding to the Kenya’s embassy in South Korea after Mwende Mwinzi presented her credentials to President Moon Jae, thus starting her tour of duty. This is contempt of National Assembly’s rejection of her nomination.

Mosop MP Vincent Tuwei on Thursday sought a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through Majority leader Amos Kimunya, demanding to know why President Uhuru Kenyatta ignored Parliament’s decision rejecting her nomination.

“The nominee (Mwinzi) failed to honour the directive of this House. Can the appointing authority initiate the process as part of Article 132 (2) of the Constitution to replace her?”  Tuwei asked.

“I wish to request Kimunya to confirm if indeed it is true she reported to Seoul on February 17. Confirm if the distinguished lady renounced her US citizenship and if Kenta’s committee’s resolution to ask the House to reject her nomination was implemented, or we decline to allocate funds to Seoul in the 2021-22 budget.”

THE CONTROVERSY

Mwinzi’s appointed is controversial because the Committee on Implementation chaired by Moitalel ole Kenta in 2019 rejected her nomination for appointment of ambassador for failing to fulfil the condition set for her approval by the House in its resolution of June 6, 2019.” She was required to denounce her US citizenship before taking up the job.

The MPs cited Section 31(1) of the Leadership and Integrity Act, which bars persons with dual citizenship from holding State offices unless they renounce one nationality.

Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo told the Standard that Mwinzi’s appointment is unlawful.

“This must be said. Parliament declined to approve Mwinzi as ambassador for the stated reasons. Her approval and appointment despite the Constitution is unlawful.”

“When the law requires approval of this House and the Executive goes ahead to appoint an individual without its approval, it is unlawful,”Amollo, who is the vice chair of the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee, said.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi directed a fresh notice be issued for the House to debate the report on Tuesday, further directing the committee to recall Mwinzi, if necessary.

“I agree that this is matter is weighty and the House should debate and make a decision,” Muturi said.

Speaker Justin Muturi said the matter was still pending before the House.

In fact, the National Assembly was set to debate a report by the Committee on Implementation of House Resolutions that asked MPs to quash its decision approving the nomination of Mwinzi subject to her renouncing the US citizenship.

The National Assembly will on Tuesday next week debate the appointment again.

Despite Mwinzi holding dual citizenship – born to a Kenyan father and an American mother – she is also married to a Nigerian citizen.

MPs say her appointment would set a ‘dangerous precedent’.

Senate Minority leader and Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr said the concerns raised by Parliament are valid.

“They have huge implications in other arms of government. Her appointment means that no one should be stopped from vying if they have dual citizenship.”

Mwinzi had moved to the High Court where she scored a victory after Justice James Makau ruled that she could not be forced to renounce her American citizenship because it was acquired by birth.

You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

The Brief will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.