Kenyans in Diaspora voices demands over next election

By VITALIS KIMUTAI

Boston: Kenyans living in the United States want the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to outline programs for them to participate in the next general election.

They raised issues with the electoral body for failing to enroll them in the voter register ahead of the March 2013 General Election.

During a meeting in Boston with governors from Kenya under a program sponsored by the East Africa Diaspora Business Council (EADBC), the Kenyans said that they are keenly following political developments back home.

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“There is a lot of interest among Kenyans living in the Diaspora over the unfolding socio-economic and political scenario after the last General Election, which ushered in a new administration under President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto,” said David Kamau, a Kenyan working in Boston. Ms Carolyne Musyimi expressed disappointment that despite promises by the IEBC chairman that those in the diaspora would vote in the last election, the same did not happen.

“We are demanding that IEBC puts in place logistics early enough that would ensure we participate in the election process in Kenya because we consider ourselves as the 48th county,” Musyimi said.

Ms Alice Misoi, a nurse, said the fact that Kenyans abroad remit over Sh150 billion yearly is a good enough reason for them to be allowed to vote during elections, as they contribute to Kenya’s economic development. Mobile phone services firm, Safaricom has set up an M-pesa PayBill number, 84848, just for Diaspora remittances and an M-Pesa account for the same.

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Governors, including Cleophas Lagat (Nandi), Julius Malombe (Kitui), and Simion Kachapin (West Pokot), joined the Commission for Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) Chairman Charles Nyachae, EABDC President Ben Kazora and Vice Chairperson Letitia Mulamula at the meeting. Lagat and Kachapin said the Governors Council is committed to ensuring devolution is successful.

“There are those who are keen on rolling back the democratic gains in the country, but we are sure that governors have the political goodwill to ensure devolution is implemented for the good of the people,” Lagat said.

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IEBC General Election Safaricom William Ruto