Court suspends law punishing Kenyans who fail to disclose dual citizenship
The High Court has temporarily suspended implementation of Section 8(4) of the Immigration Act, which prescribes that an individual who fails to disclose his/her dual citizenship within three months is liable to pay a fine of Ksh.5 million, three years imprisonment or both.
“In the Interim and pending of the petition, the court be pleased and hereby issues a conservatory order in public interest and in the end of justice, suspending and or staying the continued implementation of action under prosecution or any act enforcing section 8(4) of the Kenyan Citizenship and Immigration Act against the petitioner or any other Kenyan Citizen in Kenya or in the diaspora who has acquired dual citizenship,” reads the order.
This follows an application filed by businessman Kariuki Ndegwa who argued that the law provides no defense or an exception if the stipulated time frame of three months upon getting the second citizenship elapses.
Through his lawyers, the businessman submitted that the law does not only concern him but also thousands of Kenyan citizens by birth who have acquired citizenship of other countries, who are apprehensive to enjoy their right to enter Kenya due to the real fear and danger of being arrested at the airport on account of a crime under this law.
Kariuki wants the law declared unconstitutional, arguing it limits freedom of movement as guaranteed by the Constitution.
He further terms the punishment as stiff, arbitrary, oppressive and unjustifiable.
“It is disproportionate and excessive to punish Kenyans working abroad through conviction and stiff sentencing on account of an administrative issue of disclosure that can be achieved through less restrictive means,” claims Kariuki.
He added that the law is discriminating as it only targets Kenyans, not other foreign nationals.