Kenyans who lost citizenship to regain birthright with new Govt plan


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Kenyans who lost citizenship to regain birthright with new Govt plan

Kenyans who lost citizenship to regain birthright with new Govt planKenyan Diaspora who lost their citizenship under the old constitution now have an opportunity to regain their birthright as the country embarks on a 60-day initiative to regularise their nationalities.

This applies to people who were born in Kenya but relinquished their citizenship by denouncing it to become citizens of another country before August 27, 2010.

The previous constitution did not allow for dual-citizenship. The initiative that was launched yesterday at Immigration headquarters in Nyayo House by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and his Trade and Industrialisation counterpart Betty Maina is set to benefit over 25,000 people.

“Now that our constitution allows for dual citizenship, it is important for all those Kenyans to apply and regain their citizenship,” Dr Matiang’i said, while  urging applicants to follow the guidelines laid down in the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act of 2011.

Some 5,000 people have since re-applied but the process has been marred by bureaucratic bottlenecks in part attributed to mandatory security checks as well as slow and cumbersome internal processes.

The government wants as many people as possible processed by the end of the year. Also set to benefit are 500 investors in efforts to encourage them to increase and sustain their investments.

“The law provides the threshold of investment and the number of years you ought to have been in our country. However, I have written to the Attorney General for is advice on proposed changes to the law to simplify the process further,” Dr Matiang’i said.

Without citizenship status

The CS said some investors deserve citizenship as they have shown their commitment to the country for over 30 years during which they have employed hundreds of Kenyans and contributed to courses that have improved the society.

“We recently awarded citizenship to one of the founding Catholic priests in Kieni in Nyeri County, who has been here for over 3o years working with the community,”said Dr Matiang’i.

One such investor is Van Brussel Paul Jeanie Karel Jan, who said he has been working in the country for the past 25 years without citizenship status.

“I am grateful to receive this certificate today. As an investor, I can confirm that this country has endless opportunities and more should come and invest here,” said Mr Brussel.

The new constitution allows Kenyans to hold dual citizenship and enables foreigners who marry Kenyans an opportunity to become nationals.

Dr Matiang’i said some rogue officials have made the process hard by demanding bribes.

“I do not understand why people have to go around town looking for lawyers and brokers when they are married to Kenyans and all they want is citizenship.”

“We shall embed undercover security agents and arrest you if you ask for bribes,” warned CS Matiang’i.

Kenyans in the diaspora

To Kenyans in the diaspora, citizenship will offer them a sense of belonging and ability to channel their resources to Kenya.

Mr Kennedy Kimani Mbui said the citizenship certificate will enable his family to obtain personal identification numbers, open bank accounts and establish businesses in the country.

Ms Maina appealed to investors who have pending applications to revisit the process.

“Kenyan remains a very open place for investors and we welcome them here. I believe government systems can work and we urged the team to ensure that the promise of 60 days is fulfilled,” she said.

The initiative seeks to reduce the barriers to adjustment of citizenship status and social integration, but all applications must be verified to avoid potential devaluation of the Kenyan citizenship and to winnow out criminal aliens from the system.

While each document will be subjected to rigorous background checks, the process is set to be expedited due to the capacity adjustment in the immigration quality control, officials said.

The event was also attended by Interior Permanent Secretary Karanja Kibicho and the director of immigration services, Mr Alexander Muteshi.

By Mary Wambui



Kenyans who lost citizenship to regain birthright with new Govt plan

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