What is citizenship?

  • Citizenship is an individual‟s membership or belonging to a country.

Who is a Kenyan citizen?

(What is Kenyan citizenship?)

  • A Kenyan citizen is a person who has a legal right to belong to Kenya.
  • Kenyan citizenship refers to all people that belong to Kenya as a country.

Describe three types of citizenship in Kenya.

(In what three ways can one acquire Kenyan citizenship?)

There are three ways of becoming a Kenyan citizen. These are:

  • This refers to anyone born in Kenya, but whose parents are not diplomats representing foreign governments.
  • One can apply to become a Kenyan citizen. For instance, one from a foreign country who gets married to a Kenyan citizen is entitled to Kenyan citizenship once he or she applies for registration.
  • If one who has stayed in Kenya for more than five years applies for Kenyan citizenship, he or she becomes a Kenyan by Naturalization.

Explain the conditions that one must fulfil in order to become a naturalized citizen of Kenya.

Citizenship by naturalization is attained after fulfilling the following conditions:

  • Be above 21 years of age.
  • Must have lived in Kenya for at least one year before the date of application. Besides, one must have lived in Kenya for at least four of seven years preceding his or her application.
  • Be of good character.
  • Have good knowledge of Kiswahili.
  • Show intention to remain resident in Kenya once registered.
  • Renounce one‟s previous citizenship.

Explain the circumstances under which the government deprives one of Kenyan citizenship.

(Identify the circumstances under which a person could lose Kenyan citizenship.)

The government of Kenya has the right to grant or to deny citizenship, even if one has fulfilled the required conditions. A Kenyan may be deprived or stripped of citizenship in extreme cases, such as:

  • If he or she assists an enemy state in the event of war.
  • If one is sentenced to more than twelve years imprisonment within five years of his or her registration or naturalization.
  • When one fraudulently obtains citizenship.
  • If one has been out of the country for more than five years without having registered with the Kenyan embassy.
  • disloyalty to the country by way of speech or actions.

State the constitutional rights of a Kenyan citizen.

The Bill of Rights (chapter 5 of the Kenya Constitution) spells out rights and freedoms to which a Kenyan citizen is entitled. These are:

  • the right to life. Life should not be intentionally ended.
  • Personal freedom (the right to liberty). One should not be unjustly confined or arrested.
  • Freedom of conscience. One is free to think or believe as they desire and is free to belong to a faith, religion or denomination of their choice. One is also free to construct and maintain places of religious instruction at their own cost.
  • Freedom of expression (Freedom of speech). However, one is not allowed to defame others, disclose state secrets or incite others to unlawful acts.
  • Freedom of association and assembly. One is free to form or join groups or associations of one‟s choice as long as they are not involved in criminal activities.
  • Freedom of movement. Every Kenyan has the right to travel and move freely within the country as long as they do not trespass onto private property and gazetted areas such as Statehouse, military installations, national parks and government buildings. This freedom may be limited when curfews are imposed or when and where security zones are created.
  • The right to equal treatment (freedom from discrimination), especially at public institutions such as schools and hospitals.
  • The right to acquire and own property, except when the state requires the property for public use or in case of a court order for settlement of a debt. when property is taken by the state for public use, the owner must be compensated.
  • Freedom from arbitrary search and entry. Law enforcement officials must produce a valid search warrant before searching or entering an individual‟s premises in the course of an investigation.
  • Freedom from torture (protection from all forms of inhuman treatment), especially during an investigation at home or in public.
  • Freedom from slavery and forced labour. This is to the exclusion of labour as a result of a prison sentence or that rendered as duty by members of the armed forces e.g. road maintenance.

Under what circumstances could a Kenyan’s right to life be waived?

(Explain the circumstances in which a Kenyan could be deprived of the right to life.) In Kenya, waiving or deprivation of the right to life is acceptable on occasions such as:

  • Self defence or protection of property.
  • In the process of lawful arrest.
  • In the process of preventing a lawfully detained person from escaping.
  • In the process of suppressing a riot, rebellion or mutiny.
  • When preventing one from committing a crime or felony.
  • in war.
  • In case of death sentence by a court of law.

State the circumstances when a Kenyan’s arrest is lawful.

In Kenya, one may be arrested:

  • to carry out a court order.
  • To bring one to a court of law.
  • If one is suspected of committing or is about to commit a criminal offence.
  • To contain the spread of an infectious disease or to protect and treat a person suspected to be mentally ill or a drug addict.
  • To secure education or welfare for a minor (an under-age).

Discuss the factors that may lead to limitation of the rights and freedoms of an individual in Kenya.

(Explain the limits to a citizen‟s rights in Kenya.)

  • In the pursuit of our rights, we must not infringe on those of others by endangering them or causing them discomfort.
  • We must enjoy our rights within the existing law, without deviation.
  • Enjoyment of our rights ought not work against national interests. What are the responsibilities/duties of a Kenyan citizen?
  • obeying the law by respecting the rights of others in pursuing one‟s own.
  • Safeguarding the law of the land by giving information about crime to the relevant authority.
  • Valid documentation i.e. acquiring and having lawful documents of identification e.g. Birth certificates, Identity cards, passport, etc.
  • Payment of tax to finance the government.
  • Franchise i.e. participation in elections either as candidate or voter.
  • Protection of the country‟s environment and natural resources e.g. wildlife, forests and water.
  • Participation in public debate and other issues of common interest through various tribunals, commissions and open forums (Barazas).

Describe the elements of good citizenship.

(Describe the qualities that distinguish individuals as good citizens.)

  • Patriotism i.e. loving and seeking to contribute to the development of one‟s country.
  • Nationalism i.e. devotion to one‟s country, seeking to unite fellow countrymen above racial, tribal, religious or parochial interests.
  • Morality i.e. upholding universally accepted and other moral standards or values e.g. honesty, decency and respect for life.
  • Integrity i.e. doing what the law expects at all tunes and in all situations.
  • Thrift i.e. wise and prudent use of resources at their disposal, such as time and money.
  • Ethics i.e. rules that govern behaviour. One should adhere to work ethics such as accountability, transparency, hard work, personal initiative and zero tolerance to corruption.
  • Participating in the democratic process, e.g. by voting.
  • Participating in national debates.
  • Reporting law breakers.
  • Being mindful of other people‟s welfare.
  • Proper use of and preservation of public property.
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