Constitution has room for improvement, Kibaki tells Diaspora Kenyans
President Mwai Kibaki has called on Kenyans in the Diaspora to study the privileges and rights of citizens as enshrined in the country’s constitution and identify provisions that require amendments to serve them better.
President Kibaki said the constitution, promulgated in August last year, is particularly concerned about inclusion and welfare of all Kenyans without any bias.
Addressing Kenyans living in Western Australia in Perth city on Sunday night, the Head of State affirmed that the Constitution demonstrates an admirable concern for human dignity and the rights of individuals, particularly citizenship of Kenyans at home and in the Diaspora.
The Head of State assured that the drafters of the Constitution gave a window of amendment to Kenyans and victims of prejudice and discrimination to fight for their rights and privileges through amendments as provided for in the law.
"Your country’s constitution is not a static document, but can be improved further to serve the diverse interests", the President observed.
He assured Kenyans in the Diaspora that the country’s constitution guaranteed the rights and privileges provided both in their country of birth and their respective countries of residence through the dual
President Kibaki asserted that the concept of citizenship, providing for dual citizenship, enables Kenyans living abroad to participate in governance and contribution to the economy through investment.
The Head of State therefore urged Kenyans in the Diaspora to take advantage of the relevant provisions of the country’s constitution to register as voters at the country’s missions abroad and participate in
subsequent general elections.
Chapter three of the Kenya constitution allows for dual citizenship.
A Kenyan citizen can therefore acquire citizenship of another country, and any person can acquire Kenyan citizenship if they meet the requirements of this chapter.
"We want to ensure that Kenyans enjoy their rights as enshrined in the constitution while guarding against abuse of the privileges by unscrupulous people," President Kibaki said.
The President, at the same time, encouraged Kenyans studying abroad to consider returning home on completion of their studies to participate developing their mother country.
"The country needs the manpower and expertise of Kenyans in the Diaspora to hasten development", said President Kibaki.
He however pointed out that the government was encouraging Kenyans to acquire a world view so that they could be global citizens who can work and live anywhere.
He observed that the massive infrastructural development ongoing in various parts of the country was made possible through participation of Kenyans with support of development partners.
Participate in election
The meeting was also attended by Cabinet Ministers Moses Wetangula, Franklin Bett and Paul Otuoma and legislators Benedict Kunda and George Nyamweya who are members of the parliamentary department committee on defense and several senior government officials.
In his address, Mr Wetangula urged the 2.5 million Kenyans in the Diaspora to register as voters and participate in the election of the country’s next leadership.
The Minister said the huge Diaspora vote could sway the final election result and empower Kenyans abroad to hold their political leaders accountable.
On their part, Mr. Bett and Mr Otuoma praised President Kibaki for his visionary leadership that had enabled equitable development in the country.
The three Cabinet Ministers said, President Kibaki who retires next year in line with the constitution, will leave behind a great legacy of a strong economy and quality infrastructure in the country.
Responding to the currency depreciation concerns by students in the Diaspora, the leaders stressed the need for the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) to consider disbursement of loans to students abroad in foreign exchange to enable them complete their studies.
Kenyans residing in Western Australia led by the country’s High Commissioner to Australia Amb. Stephen Tarus and Honorary Consul to Perth Mr. Amu Shah appreciated the provision of dual citizenship in the country’s constitution which they said provided a condusive environment for Kenyans abroad to invest in their motherland.
The Diaspora Kenyans said promulgation of the constitution had strengthened structures to fight corruption and impunity while enhancing respect for the rule of law.
They commended President Kibaki for providing visionary leadership in restoring peace among the various communities after the 2008 political clashes.