When Diaspora Kenyans fought to be accorded the right to dual citizenship, they were not asking for anything extraordinary. In deed, the right to dual citizenship has been enjoyed for many years in many jurisdictions the world over. Moreover, Diaspora Kenyans earned their right to dual citizenship by playing a major role in many aspects of national importance including contributing to economic development, transmitting remittances, invaluable skills, and more.
Jubilation following this evidently historic development is quickly becoming drowned by the hurdles in its implementation. This writerâ€™s journey to register as a dual citizen tells of a process riddled with confusion and systemic bureaucratic red tape making it difficult and tiresome. My account is not a verdict against the Kenya embassy in Washington DC. To the best of my knowledge, the Kenya embassy is merely implementing a process designed in Nairobi and therefore to blame the embassy would be unfair.
This is my account: As a person that lost Kenyan citizenship upon acquiring US citizenship, I completed form 5 (Application to Regain Citizenship) and submitted it to the embassy along with copies of my Kenyan birth certificate and old Kenyan ID per instructions on the Kenya embassy website. After submitting those documents, I was asked to also submit form 2 (Declaration of Dual Citizenship) and a money order in the amount of $120.00 (one hundred and twenty).
After submitting form 2 and a money order in the amount of $120.00 as requested, more than a month later, my money order was returned. In a letter enclosed with the money order, I was asked to submit form 2 again, two passport size pictures, a notarized copy of my US passport and a notarized copy of my US naturalization certificate. It is at this point that I have decided to suspend my quest to pursue my right to dual citizenship until further notice. My decision is advised by the following observations:
1. According to the Kenya embassy, they have received a communication from Kenyaâ€™s Ministry of Immigration directing that those who lost their citizenship on account of becoming citizens of other countries as provided under the old constitution article 97(3), did not actually lose Kenyan citizenship and therefore do not have to apply to regain their lost Kenyan citizenship using form 5. This is contrary to the express and clear provisions of the law, the position of the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) and previous communications from the same ministry. Section 97(3) of the old Kenya constitution reads