Of Diaspora voting by Hook or by Crook
Personal opinion of a Diaspora Journalist.When we were first introduced to him, he was the former chairman of KCA (Kenya Community Abroad). He seemed to be the average Joe, upright individual with no subterfuges, downright sincere; whom we all thought was going to represent the Diaspora with almost sincerity and dignity in the office of the Prime Minister.
Friends in Britain and USA were overjoyed with the knowledge that there was a Diaspora Desk in the Prime Minister’s office that would cater to the needs of the Kenyan abroad, but what many did not realize; cooked out of an old gas chamber was, Mr. John Maina, the “Diaspora Voice” in the PM’s office was indeed working for ODM. This was actually confirmed by the Vice President Hon. Kalonzo Musyoka’s visit to Dallas on May 19th 2012.
The notion that we had a Diaspora Desk at the PM’s office was a pleasant surprise to many; we all thought that finally we were able to infiltrate into the government via the office of Kenya’s Prime Minister and get our loud voices heard, our concerns and questions attended to. Weren’t we mistaken!
The excitement and encouragement experienced by our Kenyans living abroad during the initiation of the Diaspora Desk was overwhelming. Most of us anticipated a clear, transparent and dependable channel of communication with our GOVERNMENT. The Prime Minister’s office is a branch in our governing institution and therefore should not be employing individuals masked as diaspora representatives whereas, working under the ODM presidential candidate’s directive. Mr. Maina has made countless visits to the USA under the umbrella of Diaspora Representative in the Prime Minister’s office. He should indeed be titled; “John Maina Office of the Prime Minister; ODM Diaspora Representative”. That would be accurate.
He’s official visits are sometimes in the company of H.E. Odembo (relative to Hon. Raila) and has been also seen with the IEBC Commissioners. For the sake of free and fair elections as our constitutional right, the collaboration of IEBC, John Maina with H.E. Odembo clearly spells ODM which dents the integrity of the forth coming elections. Not to say that they cannot be friends, on official matters this is how it looks like from our end.
The Diaspora conference, whose theme was “Shaping the Destiny of Kenya.”, was held on October 5-7, 2012. It was baffling to realize that the IEBC officials were seen watching the American Presidential Results held on 11-6-12 at the comfort of a very cozy room. I beg to ask, did they leave for Kenya and returned to watch Obama win LIVE on American TV. Tax payers’ money in question… or were they on vacation? How serious are these folks surely with only 3 months to Kenya’s presidential elections; hence only three polling stations established; the Kenya’s embassy in Washington, the United Nations mission in New York and the consulate in Los Angeles.
In order to restore the faith and the trust in many Kenyans, our request for answers should be appreciated by those our country has employed to govern it. In regards to the subject at hand; questions such as; who is the assigned returning officer? When will they be appointed and who will be appointing them? What type of balloting system will be used? What mechanism is being put in place to ensure FAIR Elections? As much as we all know that these questions will probably never be answered, at least attempts in demanding transparency are being made.
These are some of the questionable issues that will limit a great turn out during next year’s elections. Our plight for multiple polling stations fell on deaf ears. Now we head to these offices to vote… These polling stations should in fact be called, “ODM Polling Stations” All are welcome. How to ensure that no Rigging is going to take place is the million dollar question.
Kenyans are resilient and smart; great citizens and eager to be see a progressive and developing country. We will demand a Better Kenya. We are one nation, a country full of ethnic and cultural diversity that we are proud of. We are one people and ultimately One KENYA. Better practices by government officials is a REQUIREMENT not an OPTION. These officials were hired not to be seen or heard but to IMPLEMENT. Let’s vote responsibly.
Henry Pasha is a Dallas based Journalist and Radio presenter www.Karisanmedia.com