Kenya: Way forward on the ‘statelessness’ puzzle
Source: The Standard (Nairobi)
By George M Mucee
In the wake of the Makonde people of Kwale County marching to State House Nairobi to agitate for their recognition as citizens of Kenya and the subsequent directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta that their citizenship be processed, there is need for a national discourse on the issue of statelessness in the country.
According to the Constitution, Kenyan citizenship may be acquired only in two ways: by birth or registration. Citizenship by birth is the highest level of citizenship and cannot be lost under any circumstance, while citizenship by registration can be revoked in accordance with the law. Article 18 gives powers to Parliament to enact laws on the procedures of becoming a citizen as well as giving effect to provisions of Chapter 3 of the Constitution. Evidently, it is clear that if one is not born a citizen by virtue of one parent being Kenyan, they must follow the laid-down procedures to acquire citizenship.
It is in this realisation that the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2011 sets the criteria for stateless persons and migrants to acquire citizenship.
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