Kenyans living abroad sue over right to vote
Kenyans living in the diaspora have taken the electoral commission to court for failing to put in place mechanisms that will enable them to vote in next year’s General Election.
They want the court to order the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to adequately provide for voter registration and satisfactory voter mechanisms for those living in the diaspora.
The affected Kenyans are seeking a court order that could see them allowed to register as voters and participate in the General Election through electronic voting.
Also being sought is an order declaring that Kenyan citizens in the diaspora who have dual citizenship are eligible to be registered and take part in the vote.
The suit was instituted at the High Court in Nairobi through two lobby groups, New Vision Kenya (NVK) and Kenya Diaspora Alliance, which want the case determined expeditiously.
They say that the case affects about three million Kenyans based in the diaspora.
A former MP, Dr Shem Ochuodho, and a founding member of NVK, Mr Gichane Muraguri, have also sued IEBC jointly with the two organisations. Dr Ochuodho is the chairman of NVK.
Through lawyer James Kuonah, the petitioners told the court that the next polls are six months away and IEBC had failed to make proposals for diaspora voter registration.
The petitioners accuse IEBC of violating their constitutional rights to vote by failing to provide registration.
The lawyer told High Court Judge Alfred Mabeya that unless the court intervenes by deciding the case expeditiously, Kenyans working and living in the diaspora would not take part in the March 4 polls.
Mr Justice Mabeya agreed with the lawyer that the case deserves to be heard urgently.
He directed Mr Kuonah to serve the petition on the respondents within the next three days. The case will be heard on October 1.