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Diaspora to hold talks with Kenyan Women legislators

By | Mar 8th 2012 | 2 min read
By | March 8th 2012

By Chris Wamalwa in USA

Kenyans living in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware are scheduled to hold an informal, non-political meeting with Kenyan women MPs from all political parties to discuss a wide range of issues of concern to the Diaspora.

The meeting is scheduled for Friday, March 9, 2012 beginning 7pm at Uhuru Garden, 196 Union Avenue in Paterson, New Jersey.

A large of number of Women parliamentarians is currently in the US to attend a series of workshops in New York sponsored by the United Nations.

Among them are legislators Dr Naomi Shaban, Martha Karua, Wavinya Ndeti, Beatrice Kones and Cicile Mbarire. Others are Millicent Odhiambo, Rachel Shebesh, Dr Joyce Laboso, Maison Leshomo and AU’s Litha Musyimi-Ogana.

According to the meeting convener, Dr George Omburo of Jersey City in New Jersey, the gathering will explore ways in which the Diaspora can work with parliament to facilitate the incorporation of issues dear to the Diaspora in legislation.

"An issue that has been of great concern to the Diaspora Kenyans who live in the US and Canada is the ban on importation of some personal belongings especially left hand drive vehicles. Currently, many of us who are ready and willing to return home from North America to take part in developing our country are not allowed to bring in some key personal belongings. We feel this is discriminatory because other Kenyans living in other regions of the world like the EU are allowed to bring in all their personal belongings," said Dr George Omburo.

Another issue expected to feature prominently in the discussions is the current efforts to have the Diaspora vote in the forth-coming elections. Many Kenyans abroad feel the government is not treating this constitutional mandate with the seriousness it deserves especially the call for electronic and Internet registration and voting.

"Even though some members of the IEBC were here late last year to seek our input on how we think the Diaspora should vote, there is a feeling among Kenyans in Diaspora that the government and especially the IEBC will totally ignore some of our key recommendations such as online voting and also voting at all levels," said Peter Kerre of New York City.

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