Nairobi News

Must ReadNews

Miguna votes, no questions raised about his citizenship status

Exiled lawyer Miguna Miguna on Tuesday voted at a diaspora polling centre in Canada, effectively ending debate on whether he is a Kenyan citizen.

Dr Miguna was ejected from Kenya in 2018, with the government arguing he had renounced his citizenship and needed to regularise his re-admittance.

He posted on his Twitter page on Tuesday that he had exercised his democratic right by voting at the Kenyan High Commission in Toronto, one of several foreign centres where Kenyans were allowed to vote.

“[I] Exercised my democratic right and duty. I voted,” said the controversial lawyer, who practising in Toronto.

Under the law, only Kenyan adults holding national IDs or valid passports can vote.

Canada was one of 12 countries where Kenyans voted for President. According to Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) vice-chairperson Juliana Cherera, voting took place in Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Canada, the US, South Sudan, Qatar, the UAE and Germany.

Nairobi had always insisted that the Toronto-based lawyer lost his citizenship under the old Constitution after adopting foreign nationality and that he needed to apply to restore his citizenship.

The old Constitution did not allow dual nationality, although Dr Miguna had returned to Kenya and even contested in the 2017 elections for governor of Nairobi. Only Kenyan citizens can contest in elections.

On November 22, 2021, the High Court directed the government to grant Dr Miguna emergency travel documents so he could visit Kenya. The court also ordered that upon his return, he should apply for a new passport, and that it should be issued within a week.

But Dr Miguna alleged that staff at the Kenyan Embassy in Berlin, Germany, had refused to serve him, thus blocking his return.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i defended the government, saying the barrister had refused to fill out what he described as a one-page document.

“We have obeyed even the recent order when we were ordered to facilitate him to come. Our minister for Foreign Affairs organised with the mission in Germany. We have opened immigration offices even in Canada. What is so difficult about filling that one-page letter? Over 300,000 Kenyans filled out that paper,” said Dr Matiang’i in an interview with NTV.

The document, referred to as Form 2, is a declaration form made by a dual citizen. It requires applicants to enter their name, address, habitual residence at the time the application is made, age and country of birth.

The applicant is required to declare his nationality and nature of his citizenship, whether by birth, registration or naturalisation. The document is then signed and validated by a magistrate or commissioner of oaths.

But Dr Miguna voted yesterday and the government will face hard questions on whether he had really lost his citizenship and how he was able to vote when the law allows only Kenyan citizens to exercise that right.