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Govt and IEBC to address Diaspora vote - Kalonzo

BUSINESS
By | April 14th 2012

VPPS

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka on Saturday held extensive talks with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan whom he had invited to visit the country on behalf of President Mwai Kibaki.

The talks centered mainly on strengthening trade and economic ties between the two regional economic blocks of ECOWAS and EAC.

Specifically, Kalonzo said Kenya would benefit immensely from increased trade activities between it and the Nigeria’s 170 Million people market.

He thanked the Nigerian government for allowing direct flights to Abuja by Kenya airways (KQ) which are set to commence soon and her willingness to sign a joint commission for cooperation that will help deepen the bilateral relations between the two nations.

They also discussed the regional security issues both in West Africa and the horn of Africa.

"Nigeria is an economic power in West Africa just like Kenya is a key economic pillar for the East Africa, if these two nations collaborate closely they will help transform regional economic blocks such as EAC, ECOWAS and SADC into one powerful single continental market," Kalonzo said.

Kalonzo also joined his host President Goodluck Jonathan for the second presidential national prayer breakfast.

He was called to the podium to commit the Nigerian nation to God in prayer, and he prayed for peace, tranquility and religious tolerance.

The President himself also led the nation in prayer asking God to heal Nigeria and guide it towards more economic prosperity and peaceful co-existence of all the citizens.

Kenya’s Vice President sat next to the Nigerian President throughout the service and consulted from time to time.

The service was conducted by several Nigerian leading clerics and was held at the Presidential residence, Asorock, Abuja.

Earlier Kalonzo hosted a meeting for Kenyans living and working in the West Africa in Lagos where Kenyans living abroad demanded the right to vote in the upcoming general election.

Led by their leaders Johvine Wanyingo and Joseph Kimanzi the Kenyans expressed their apprehension towards the IEBC not being able to put the logistics in place in time to enable millions of Kenyans abroad to vote.

"I followed proceedings of a meeting in Boston U.S by Kenyans in the Diaspora with Kenya’s Ambassador to the US Mr. Elkana Odembo and the same concerns featured prominently," said Mr. Wanyingo.

He told the Vice President that in their meeting in Abuja recently with the IEBC chairman Isaack Hassan, they expressed their concerns that not all Kenyans living abroad will be able to afford the cost of traveling to Embassies and High Commissions to vote.

Kalonzo said the government will work with IEBC and other stakeholders to address the concerns of Kenyans living abroad over the ability to vote in the coming elections.

The Vice President said the forth coming elections were critical to the future of the country because it’s part of the process of implementing the new constitution by the electing county governments.

I urge you therefore participate fully in the election not just by voting but even seeking elective posts in order to ensure quality leadership under the new constitutional dispensation.

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