A citizen is a person who legally belongs to a state. Citizenship therefore is the act of belonging to a particular country.
There are two ways of becoming a citizen by birth and registration.
Citizen by birth.
Anyone born to parents who are Kenyan citizens is entitled to citizenship. It applies to one born in or outside Kenya. It’s also given to a child found in Kenya who is less than eight years, and whose nationality and parents are unknown.
A citizen by birth does not lose citizenship by acquiring the citizenship of another country.
Citizenship by registration.
This is where a person who is not a Kenyan citizen is granted Kenyan citizenship. Like.
- A person who has been married to a citizen for a period of at least seven years.
- A person who has been lawfully living in Kenya for a continuous period of at least seven years.
- A child adopted by a citizen.
Revocation of citizenship.
- If the person acquired the citizenship by fraud, false representation or failure to provide full information.
- If a person supports or is found to have supported an enemy country during war with Kenya.
- If the person has within five years been convicted to a prison term of three or more years.
- If a person has been convicted of treason or offence of which a penalty of seven or more years.
Rights and freedoms of citizens.
Right of life.
Every person has a right to life and no person shall be deprived of life intentionally except where the law authorises. The life of a person begins at conception and abortion is not permitted.
The following are limitations to the right to life.
- When a person acts in self defence or defence of property.
- When security officers execute a lawful arrest.
- When security officers act to prevent the escape of a person who is lawfully detained.
- When security officers suppress a riot, rebellion or mutiny.
- When security officers act to prevent an individual from committing a crime.
- When the country it at war.
- When a person is sentenced to death by a court of law.
Equality and freedom from discrimination.
Every person is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law. No one should be discriminated against on ground, of race, sex, pregnancy, marital status, health status, ethnic, colour, age disability, religious belief and conscience.
Rights to human dignity.
No one should be treated in a dehumanising manner people should be respected and protected.
Right to freedom and security of the person.
This include the right not to.
- Subject to corporal punishment.
- Treated or punished in a cruel way.
- Subjected to violence from either public or private sources.
- Detained without trial.
- Subject to torture.
Right to privacy.
Every person has a right to privacy which includes the right not to have:
- Their personal, home or property searched.
- Their possessions seized.
- The privacy of their communications interfered with.
- Information relating to their family or private affairs revealed unnecessarily.
A person’s right to privacy is not considered to deprive when.
- Public officers inspect premises for purposes of tax.
- Security officers enter premises to arrest suspected criminals or prisoners who have escaped from lawful custody.
- Public officers affect a court order.
Rights to freedom of conscience, religious belief and opinions.
Every person has a right to hold their views and practise their own religion. No person may be forced to engage in acts that are against their beliefs, however, this rights is limited by:
- All religious groups should be registered by the government.
- Religious, beliefs and opinions that create hatred and suspicions are not allowed.
Right to freedom of expression.
Every person has a right to seek, receive and impart information or ideas. However, the right does not extend to:
- Propaganda for war.
- Incitement to violence.
- Hate speech.
Access to information.
Every citizen has the right to access information from the state, or any other person.
Right to freedom of association.
Every person has the right to peacefully and while unarmed assemble, demonstrate and present petitions to public authorities. However, these are the limitations:
- Demonstrations should not lead to breakdown of law and order.
- There should not be a conspiracy against the government.
- The police should be notified in advance.
Right to political activity.
Every citizen is free to make political choices forming a party, recruit members and campaign for a political party and final vote in free, fair and regular elections.
Right to freedom of movement and residence.
Every person has a right to move and live anywhere in the country. One’s freedom of movement may be limited under the following circumstances:
- When preventing the spread of an infectious disease.
- When affecting a court order requesting one to be arrested.
- When one is suspected to have committed or about to commit a crime.
- When securing education or welfare of a person below the age of 18.
- When rehabilitating a drug addict.
- When securing the welfare of a person of unsound mind.
- There are restricted areas. E.g. military barracks and private property.
- When a curfew is imposed in times of war or insecurity.
Right to property.
Every person has a right to acquire and own property in any part of the country. The following are limitations to this right.
- The government may acquire property for public use provided there is compensation.
- Property should not have been acquired unlawfully.
Every person has the right to fair labour practices. Workers have the right to:
- Fair remuneration.
- Reasonable working conditions.
- Go on strike.
- From and join trade unions.
Every person has a right to a clean and healthy environment.
Economic and social rights.
- High standards of health to emergency treatment.
- Adequate housing and sanitation.
- Adequate food of acceptable quality.
- Clean and safe water in adequate quantities.
- Social security.
Language and culture.
Every citizen has a right to use the language and to participate in cultural life of the person’s choice.
Right to family.
Every adult has a right to marry a person of the opposite sex.
Responsibilities of a Kenyan citizen.
Obey the law.
Every citizen has a responsibility to respect and obey the law in order to enhance peace and stability.
Protecting the law.
Every citizen should protect the law by reporting law-breakers and not harbouring law-breakers.
Participating in the democratic processes.
Like registration as voters, voting for leaders and offering them for electoral position.
Maintaining valid documents
Like identity cards, passports, driving licence and birth certificates among others.
Participating in public meetings.
- Every citizen has a responsibility to pay tax like income tax, value added tax and excise duty.
- Citizens should take part in development programmes like harambee.
- Citizens should participate in income generating activities to earn a descent living.
- Every citizen should conserve the environment like natural resources.
- Citizen should fight corruption in the country.
- Promote gender sensitivity in relation to community.
- Promote positive values in the society and good morals.
- Promotion of good health practices like hygiene.
- Helping in emergencies like disaster.
- Taking care of the vulnerable in the society like the needy, orphans and poor.
Values of good citizenship.
- One should be patriotic to the country.
- One should have good morals.
- One should be a nationalist.
- One should have integrity.
- A good citizen should adhere to work ethics.
- One should be thrift that is wise and prudent use of resources.