By Alex Ndegwa
Presidential aspirants are competing to woo the Diaspora voting-bloc constituting a third of eight million unregistered voters the electoral commission is eyeing.
These include people with special needs and the estimated three million Kenyans in the Diaspora; a voting-bloc analysts suggest could be a swing vote in the General Election.
Once the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission ( IEBC) enroll the additional eight million voters, the total number is expected to hit 20 million. The exact number of eligible voters abroad is unclear, with the IIEC exit report variously citing two and three million.
However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is understood to have compiled a report profiling Kenyans living abroad and how they are distributed.
It has reportedly been turned over to the IEBC to help in preparation for voter registration outside Kenya.
Presidential aspirants are paying more attention to the new voting bloc, which would constitute 15 per cent of the total registered voters, enough to tilt the scales in a closely contested election.
Leaders jostling to succeed President Kibaki are increasingly turning to foreign capitals to market themselves.
In the past week, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and Planning Assistant Minister Peter Kenneth were in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.
Abdikadir Mohammed, the chairman of the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee, says the size of the Diaspora vote is large enough that no serious presidential aspirant can ignore.