British journalist and activist Maina Kiai are co-directors of NGO
THE British journalist being hounded out of the country is a co-director of a not-for-profit company with activist Maina Kiai. Lucy Hannan went to court last October arguing that the renewal of her work permit was being unreasonably withheld. She runs the media group Voxcom that makes and shows documentaries in rural Kenya. Hannan employs 40 staff and has lived in Kenya for more than 20 years. Her work permit expired on June 28 last year.
Hannan and Maina Kiai are co-directors of InformAction – a not-for-profit company that specialises in film and community discussions to demand accountability in Kenya.
Last Wednesday, immigration officials presented the court with a letter dated October 30, last year signed by Interior Secretary Joseph ole Lenku saying she has been declared a “prohibited immigrant”.
“Confidential reports indicate that the applicant has been engaged in subversive activities against the Kenyan government and therefore her presence in Kenya is contrary to national interest. That pursuant to the security reports, the Cabinet Secretary proceeded to declare the applicant a member of the prohibited class and prohibited immigrant,” immigration officer Alfred Abuya Omangi delcared in an affidavit to court.
Section 33 of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act gives the Interior Secretary powers to declare any foreigner a prohibited immigrant and order for their deportation. Hannan has challenged the declaration in court through her lawyer Kethi Kilonzo. Kethi could not be reached for comment.
“Whether it is challenged in court or not, the government can declare someone a prohibited immigrant and seek to remove them from the country. They can go to court and ask why such a declaration was made but that is as much as they can do because it is only the government that can make such a declaration,” security expert Simiyu Werunga said yesterday.
Section 33 of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act of 2011 orders for the removal of foreigners from the country if they have been charged with any offence and convicted or acquitted by the court; commercial sex workers or anyone living on proceeds of commercial sex; human traffickers; drug traffickers; illegal immigrants; anyone sympathetic to subversive activities, terrorism activities and money laundering; anyone convicted of crimes against humanity, kidnapping andtorture; arms dealers; members of a prohibited group; or a fugitive.