The Diaspora organisations presented a petition to the Government through the Minister for Foreign Affairs seeking their rightful inclusion in all processes on national matters.
The petition, signed by five Diaspora and Diaspora-centered groups including Diaspora Movement of Kenya (DMK), Kenya Community Abroad (KCA), Kenyans for Change (K4C), Kenya Global Unity (KGU) and New Vision Kenya (NVK-Mageuzi) was received by Foreign Affairs Assistant Minister Richard Onyonka on the behalf of the acting Minister George Saitoti.
The open petition was addressed to President Kibaki and Prime minister Raila Odinga and copied to the Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende and all ministers and MPs.
“It stipulates the growing importance of Diaspora contribution to our socio-economic, technological and cultural development as a people, noting that more than three million Kenyans are presently domiciled beyond our borders and remit into the country in excess of Sh150 billion every year,” stated the document sent by former Rangwe MP Dr Shem Ochuodho.
The team called for necessary arrangements by the Interim Independent Electoral Commission.
Merit should prevail
Kenya to register Kenyan in Diaspora to vote in next year’s General Election either by declaring embassies and consulates as polling centres, or even better by introducing electronic and online voting (e-voting).
“We also want involvement of eligible people in Diaspora in strategic national commissions and committees, including the Judicial Service Commission, the Constitutional and Legal Reforms Implementation and Monitoring Committees, and other existing and future trade, economic, scientific, cultural and professional committees and commissions,” said Ochuodho.
They said merit should prevail over other considerations and that those in the Diaspora should not be favoured in such appointments, but equally they should not be excluded or discriminated against.
Onyonka, himself a former Diasporan, appreciated the delegation’s concerns, welcomed the petition and promised to bring it to the attention of the relevant authorities.
He indicated some of the matters raised are already within the purview of the ministry, including the plan to appoint a few Honorary Consuls in deserving areas once the legal and administrative instruments are complete.
Onyonka said the Government is working on a Diaspora Bill, which will look into most of the issues raised. He also confirmed the ministry is holding preliminary consultations with IIECK to have Kenyans abroad participate in future elections and referenda.
By BONIFACE ONGERI
Standard Media Group
Article Link : http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/InsidePage.php?id=2000026187&cid=4&