Tag Archives: politics

Not a Kenya citizen, apparently

There’s some drama going on in the news in Kenya right now. Without going into all of the detail (it’s quite a soap opera) one of the characters in the drama is one Miguna Miguna. (Yes, that’s really his name.)

Weirdly, I have been acquainted with Miguna for several years. He used to come to my Kenya website, say awful things about pretty much everyone, and then threaten to sue me when anyone said anything at all about him. Even when they had documented evidence. Like about his time in prison for opposing the Moi government, and other details that are conspicuously absent from his Wikipedia page.

But I digress.

One of the details of great interest to me is his citizenship. At some point, he acquired Canadian citizenship while in exile from Kenya (again, due to his political activism). The constitution says pretty clearly (and, as a lawyer, one would think he’d know this) that if you acquire foreign citizenship, you lose your Kenya citizenship. Read it for yourself. And you must apply for reinstatement, if you want it. Kenya does not automatically recognize dual citizenship, although there is a process you can go through to gain it, if you’re in that position.

Now, this last part was news to me, and so I’ve been reading over the last few days. Perhaps I could apply for reinstatement of my dual citizenship?

The 1991 constitution, I vaguely remember, introduces some language that eliminates dual citizenship. However, everything I can find about it now says that the only substantive change in that revision was the abolishment of the one-party state.

This led me to dig some more, because I have always believed that I had dual citizenship when I was born. I was born in Kenya to USA citizen parents.

Turns out, the 1963 constitution does not recognize Jus Soli – the notion that you’re a citizen of the bit of dirt you’re born on. Turns out, that’s actually somewhat uncommon, and mostly only recognized in the Americas. Not in Europe, Africa, or Asia, where (for the most part) you are a citizen only if your parents (or, in most cases, one of them) was a citizen.

So, although I have believed all my life that I’m a citizen of Kenya by birth, it turns out, legally, I never was. And, of course, the 2010 constitution makes it impossible for me to have that citizenship (re)instated, even if I had been, as I would have to reside in Kenya for 7 years, which is not practical at this stage in my life. And, as someone who was not, legally, born a citizen, I’d have to renounce my US citizenship as part of that process.

This is odd. Practically speaking, it makes no difference. I have never had enough knowledge of local politics to want to vote. I can still travel to Kenya without a visa. And I still have my childhood and my memories. It makes no practical difference whatsoever.

But I still feel like I’ve lost a part of who I am. Or, something that I always believed I was.

Out Of Touch Lexingtonians


Once again the rich folks in Lexington are talking out of both sides of their mouths, and it really irritates me.

They claim that they oppose the sidewalks on Tates Creek Road because it will spoil the grass, because it will be dangerous for people to walk there, and because the people will be exposed to exhaust fumes. But we know better, don’t we?

The truth is that they don’t want *that kind* of people walking in front of their million dollar homes.

Whenever there’s something proposed in Lexington that benefits the low-income folks who don’t drive SUVs and don’t own horses, it gets shot down. And the sidewalk proposal will probably fail in the city council tonight, because the city council is a bunch of spoiled rich kids who are more interested in having direct flights to Las Vegas and Martha’s Vineyard than they are about whether their less advantaged neighbors are able to walk to work without ruining their clothes.

It’s not even like there’s a cost involved – this is a federal grant.

The number of completely ludicrous statements made in opposition to the sidewalk would be funny if it wasn’t so disgusting.

“Sidewalks would destroy the greenery of the corridor and increase storm-water run off,” said Steve Kesten,

… leaning against the side of his Lexus SUV that gets 7 miles to the gallon, downhill.

“I see no good reason for sidewalks out here, and neither do my neighbors.”

…. Presumably because they all have SUVs, too, and so don’t need to walk anywhere.

“My constituents don’t see people walking along the road,” Beard said, adding that when he drives along Tates Creek, “I never, I mean never, have seen anyone walking.”

… Presumably because he was talking on his cell phone and drinking his Starbucks at the time.

Lexington is increasingly a divided society, with a widening gap between the rich folks that run the show and the poor folks who make up the majority of the population. Here’s hoping I’m wrong about the council meeting tonight. At least this is a good sign.


I’m going to be in New Orleans on election day, at ApacheCon, so today I went down to the County Clerk office and cast my vote for the president of the United States, as well as a variety of local elections.

This year, I was (I think) rather well informed about our national races – the president, the senate, and the congress – but woefully ignorant about the local races. And, really, what difference does it actually make who the commissioner of soil and water is, and why is this an elected position?

It’s ironic that one of my biggest complaints about the national government is how much power is at the federal level, rather than at the state level, yet when I had a chance to affect the composition of the state supreme court, I was utterly uninformed. It’s so very hard to follow what’s going on in local politics when really the only local media outlet is the Herald Leader, which is so completely biased on every issue it’s almost impossible to get a balanced view of anything.

Perhaps I’ll do better next time.

700 Billion Dollars

With 700 billion dollars, you could give everyone on the planet $100, which is more than a sizable percentage of them will make this year.

With 700 billion dollars, you could give every citizen of the United States $2000 – of course, it sort of works the other way around, doesn’t it? We’re the ones that will be giving the $2000 to foot the bill for this.

Instead, for 700 billion dollars, we are rewarding companies that were mismanaged. Which means, I presume, that a very small number of already-absurdly-wealthy old white guys will be made even wealthier. And I will still be left trying to make ends meet every month.

I’m sure there’s a huge amount about this that I don’t understand, but what I do understand is that I am being asked to pay for irresponsible management of huge companies, and I also understand that this is not capitalism. This is corporate welfare. This is a handout. And it’s a bunch of wealthy people in government rewarding themselves, propping up their own portfolios, and rewarding their buddies on wall street, completely without regard for those of us who foot the bill.

It makes me sick.