NAIROBI, Kenya, May 14 – Drama awaits the return of deported Opposition activist Miguna Miguna from Canada on Wednesday after the State Department of Immigration declined a request to issue him with a Kenyan passport.
According to Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) Vice Chairperson George Morara, Immigration Principal Secretary Gordon Kihalangwa had declined a request to issue Miguna a fresh passport to replace one confiscated in February when he was first expelled from the country.
In a letter dated May 10, Kihalangwa said Miguna could not be issued with a valid Kenyan passport as he had not applied for the document.
“Without any prejudice, we reiterate that Miguna has to regain his Kenyan citizenship before being issued with a Kenyan passport,” he wrote in response to a KNCHR letter dated May 5.
Kihalangwa, however, said the government was willing to allow Miguna into the country in accordance with orders issued by the court if only he used his Canadian passport.
Further, the PS said the State Department of Immigration will not purchase a flight ticket for Miguna stating that no such order had been issued by the court.
On allowing KNCHR access to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to monitor Miguna’s return and clearance, Kihalangwa said such permission could only be granted by the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) and not the Immigration Department.
KNCHR’s Moarara has however contested Kihalangwa’s argument that Miguna would have to formally apply for a Kenyan passport before being issued with one.
“Court orders were clear that Miguna should be facilitated and that to us means he should be given his passport and secondly the State should provide him with a ticket because Miguna did not remove himself from this jurisdiction,” Morara said on Sunday.
Speaking separately, Miguna’s lawyer Cliff Ombeta said uncertainty surrounds his client’s entry into the country following the State’s refusal to issue him with a passport.
“We’ve prepared with KNCHR and KAA so that we can have airport passes to monitor his entry into the country but we’re not so sure what the government will do because so far they’ve not cooperated in giving us travel documents,” Ombeta remarked.
The renewed efforts to have Miguna return to the country followed a recent ruling in the Court of Appeal where the Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi, National Police Service Inspector General Joseph Boinnet, and PS Kihalangwa had moved to challenge Justice George Odunga’s verdict on March 29 finding them to have acted in contempt of multiple court orders requiring them to produce Miguna in court.
In his ruling at the time, Justice Odunga fined Matinagi, Boinnet, and Kihalangwa Sh200,000 each while giving them an opportunity to purge their contempt by committing to produce Miguna in court as had been ordered by another High Court Judge, Roselyn Aburili.
READ: Matiangi, Boinnet, and Kihalangwa fined Sh200,000 each for contempt
The contempt ruling came a day after the State forced Miguna into a Dubai-bound plane following three days of highly charged drama at the JKIA where Miguna had been held by immigration officials following his refusal to produce his Canadian passport for clearance.
Miguna, a self-declared General of a nationwide civil disobedience group at the time embedded in the Opposition National Super Alliance had demanded to be allowed entry as a Kenyan citizen, a request turned down by immigration officials.
According to the Interior ministry, Miguna’s Kenyan passport was found to have been issued irregularly and hence the decision to revoke it in February.
The ministry said that by acquiring Canadian citizenship under the old constitution when dual nationality was not permitted, Miguna forfeited his Kenyan citizenship.
Miguna declined a request by immigration officials to fill forms for purposes of regularizing his citizenship insisting that he never lost it.
His troubles with authorities started on January 30 when he administered an oath on Orange Democratic Movement party leader Raila Odinga, as the People’s President.
The Canadian-schooled lawyer who once served as Odinga’s advisor during his tenure as Prime Minister was captured by detectives on February 2 at his Runda home.
He was then deported on February 6 after unsuccessful efforts by his lawyers to have him produced at a Nairobi court where a High Court judge had directed the State to present him
By JEREMIAH WAKAYA