[SIZE=7]CS Omamo responds to Miguna travel papers case[/SIZE]
Friday, February 11, 2022
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo has defended herself against accusations that she disobeyed a court order to issue exiled lawyer Miguna Miguna with emergency travel documents in November last year.
Dr Miguna wants the minister jailed for six months for contempt of court, but Ms Omamo says he had not turned up at the Kenyan missions in Germany or Canada to be issued with the documents.
“Since November 24, 2021, the date of the service of the order upon the Attorney-General, the Kenyan Missions in Berlin (Germany) and Ottawa (Canada) have remained at the disposal of Dr Miguna but he has not returned to seek the emergency travel documents,” says Ms Omamo in the court papers.
Lawyer Miguna Miguna inside the international arrivals building at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi on March 26, 2018.
File | Simon Maina | AFP
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo.
Dr Miguna had informed the court that Ms Omamo, who is also a lawyer, had refused to obey the orders dated November 22, 2021.
The order, issued by Justice Hedwig Ong’undi, required him to be given the travel documents from any embassy/high commission within 72 hours.
At the time the order was issued, Dr Miguna was in Berlin, Germany, preparing to return to Nairobi following his forcible removal to Canada in 2018.
Through lawyer Kamotho Njenga, he said that he went to the embassy in Berlin the same day seeking to be granted the documents but the staff refused.
“I duly identified myself using my valid Kenya national identity card, and requested the officials present namely, Esther Nyambura Mungai (the Deputy Head of Mission), Emma Malinda (Head of Consular Services), Matilda Lijembe and Alexander Karuma, to issue me with the emergency travel document as directed by the court,” he narrated in court papers.
The staff said they would not comply with the court order ostensibly because “they had not been served with a physical copy of the order and were “small people” who would lose their jobs if they complied.
They also said Dr Miguna had not showed them a copy of the “certificate of regaining citizenship” without which they could not issue him with the travel document as ordered by the court.
Upon returning to the embassy the following day with physical copies of the court order, he said the Kenya High Commission locked him out of the building in cold winter weather for more than 30 minutes.
“They walked out of the conference room they had ushered me into without issuing me with the emergency travel document,” narrated the fiery politician.
The staff insisted that unless Dr Miguna “applied for citizenship”, they would not issue him with the emergency travel document.
Lawyer Miguna Miguna
On November 25, after waiting for more than 96 hours in Berlin, he travelled back to Toronto, Canada, as the plan to return to Kenya had aborted.
But CS Omamo says that when Dr Miguna went to the embassy, the ministry and the Attorney-General had not been furnished with the court order.
For that reason, the deputy head of mission and other staff could not issue him with the emergency travel documents when he sought them. He had also not filled any application forms as required, says CS Omamo.
She says she was notified of the court order by Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki on November 24.
The AG urged her and Interior CS Fred Matiang’i to ensure compliance as appropriate. The AG also advised that the timelines of compliance (being within 72 hours) began running when the order was served upon him on November 24.
She immediately instructed the principal secretary at her ministry to convey the AG’s advice to the Kenya missions in Berlin and Ottawa.
In the case, Dr Miguna is also seeking compensation of $10,000 (Sh1.1 million) from the government, the financial losses he says he incurred during the aborted trip from Canada to Kenya.
He spent $4,300 on air fare and $3,400 on hotel accommodation, plus transportation and necessities such as food. Air France did not refund the fare for the Berlin-Nairobi round trip that he was stopped from taking, he said.
In addition, he paid $250 to change his flight from Berlin to Toronto. In total, he says he spent more than $10,000 on the latest trip.
According to court papers, he spent equivalent amounts in March 2018 and January 2020 when the government prevented him from entering Kenya.