Not long ago your grandfather or his father set foot into Kenya when it was under the British rule and they had no choice but to get British citizenship. Now, this is old news and the latest is in, that of “dual citizenship”. Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo addressed the Asian Foundation, its members and the Asian community at the Oshwal Centre.
He was introduced warmly by the Chairman of the Asian Foundation, Mr Aurelio Rubello and joining him on the panel was Mr Arun Devani. No boring power point presentations but real facts by the Minister as if he was just like us a mwananchi walking into a Government office to get citizenship. Here, he set out the agenda of the meeting which was to not only educate but encourage stranded parents and those who wanted to obtain citizenship to go ahead and apply due to our advanced constitution. First what is Dual Citizenship? As per article 8 of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act 2011, it states: 8. “(1) A citizen of Kenyan by birth who acquires the citizenship of another country shall be entitled to retain the citizenship of Kenya subject to the provisions of this Act and the limitations, relating to dual citizenship, prescribed in the Constitution.”
The most common distress was that of “statelessness”, now it is an issue of the past. Read on article 15 of the Act and you will realize that you can obtain Kenyan Citizenship, get a job and move ahead in life. There is now a powerful choice. There is also no need to go back to your grandfather’s documents to fill in a registration or apply for citizenship, as per section 14 (1) of our Constitution, only your father and mother’s details are required.
The other advancement was that a man married to woman who is a Kenyan Citizen can obtain similar rights. The body that will handle this entire process of Citizenship and Immigration is the Kenya Citizens and Foreign Nationals Management Service which commenced from 4th October, 2011. Kenya is moving forward and dual citizenship is one of the ways to attract investors, either a foreigner, Kenyan born living outside Kenya and existing work permit holders to obtain and enjoy the advantages of Kenyan citizenship.
There was concern over the declaration of dual citizenship, because should a person not disclose in the manner prescribed then he or she faces a fine of five million shillings or three years imprisonment. The Minister reiterated this was a fair process and Mr Arun Devani added that it was a duty of every citizen to be transparent. Upon comment, the Minister told me that he did this meeting to enhance the confidence in existing and potential investors in the country. He will also encourage the Ministry to provide civic education via social media network to spread the message especially to the stranded youth who are stateless or deciding on citizenship and residency. The Chairman of the Asian Foundation, encouraged the community to read up on the Act and also the Constitution, while participate and bring forward any queries to their weekly Friday sessions at their offices in Westlands.
The other accomplishment of the week was for the first Shariah Compliant Insurance Company in East Africa, Takaful Insurance of Africa Limited. This insurance company is setting out to break records in returning claims to their clients in as the shortest time as possible. They have awarded claim settlements from nearly half million, to five and recently eighteen million shillings to Maxfair Forex Bureau and AMS Insurance Brokers.
As a Shariah based insurance company it allows the policy users to actually enjoy a payback from the surplus fund. What happens is that each member or policy buyer contributes to a premium which pays for losses suffered by the contributors. Any surplus left from the contribution after payment of claims and other expenses is distributed among participants. This is referred to as surplus refund.
An accomplishment to make coming up is that to remember the beautiful melodies of the late Ghazal Singer Maestro Jagjit Singh. This musical tribute will be done by Sailesh Savani, Umesh Pande, Kirit Pattni, Sheleena Pande and Nitin Varsani on 5th February at the Oshwal Center Auditorium. Jagjit Singh passed away on 10th October 2011 leaving a huge legacy of songs and compilations that are dear to the Kenyan audience as he frequented here for shows. Raising a glass to the maestro with his music will be a treat.