Letter to Uhuru:The Kenya Diaspora Agenda 2011

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To: Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, MP
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance
From: Patriot Stephen KINUTHIA
Kenya Community in the Diaspora
Kenya Welfare Foundation (KWF)
Kenya Overseas Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KOCCI)
Paris, Wednesday 12/Oct/2011
Dear Hon. Uhuru,
I hope you are well and that this note will reach in sound health.
It is my pleasure to write to you as my president in waiting, a government executive, a party
leader and foremost as a friend. I m sure you never doubt my support backdating the early
2001 when we first met at Kasarani sport ground Tuko Pamoja!
It s for this reason that I wish to share with you the grievances and concerns from my fellow
Kenyan community in the Diaspora who asked me to speak about the Kenyan Diaspora
Agenda on their behalf. The Diaspora Agenda itself is an expansive topic on which I could
write a novel if not spending days of discussion. However, knowing your commitment and
attachment with the Diaspora and being a former Diaspora, you certainly know what it means,
and their expectations.
Moreover, I will briefly remind you about who would qualify as a Kenyan in the Diaspora; I
will talk about the need to implement the Dual citizenship, the Voting rights and effective the
Diaspora representation in our country s affairs. Next year being an election year, I will touch
briefly on that aspect, especially as it pertains to us in the Diaspora.
Who constitutes the Kenyan Diaspora?
In order to talk meaningfully about the Kenyan Diaspora Agenda, we must first understand
what we are referring to by the term the Kenyan Diaspora. From my viewpoint and
knowledge, the Kenyan Diaspora is that Kenyan, a man or woman, who was born in Kenya
but who now resides out of the country. It is the spouse (yes, man or woman) of a Kenyan
Diaspora; the Kenyan Diaspora is the child of a Kenyan who has a birthright to his/her
parents country s citizenship.
The Kenyan Diaspora is diverse in many respects. It includes students, businesspeople and
professionals that have made a home outside of our motherland. This diversity implies diverse
interests as well. However, as diverse as these interests are, we are united in one Kenyan
spirit. Indeed, it reminds of a saying that I would paraphrase and state that: one can take a
Kenyan out of Kenya; one cannot take Kenyan out of the Kenyan. As such, once a Kenyan,
always a Kenyan!
Economic Contribution


Our commitment to Kenya can be seen in the extent to which we support families and invest
back home. By last count, I learned that the remittances from Kenyans abroad grow by 33%
from $1billion dollars annually, a figure that rivals earnings from such sources as tea exports;
a figure that is close to what the tourism sector brings into the country.
The Kenya Diaspora Agenda 2011 Page(s) 2of5
These remittances are not small change by the facts of the current global crisis! It is a
reminder of the potential in our people resident out of the country. Indeed, with a structured
approach to remittances, we Kenyans in Diaspora would play a larger, more effective role in
the economic development of our nation.
To be fully participatory in our nation s development, we in the Diaspora have consistently
advocated for the enactment (where legislation is lacking) and implementation of instruments
that would facilitate our full participation.
For peace and stability in Kenya:

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– Full implementation of the new Constitution and Electoral Reforms are fundamental
before 2012 election to ensure free, fair and transparent elections.
– The issues of the youth in Kenya especially unemployment need immediate attention.
The hopelessness of the youth, and their implication the Al-Shabab militia activities
are worrying.
– The escalating prices of fuel and essential food commodities; the issue of resettling the
IDPs three years later and to compensate the Mau evictees is our big concern.
Dual Citizenship
The Dual citizenship is now a reality under the New Constitution, it will benefit our country
and all of us in the Diaspora; dual citizenship will assure belonging and cement the
commitment of the Kenyan Diaspora to our country.
Furthermore, there is consensus among political players on the need for a constitutional
implementation to allow entire application of dual citizenship and voting rights for Kenyans
in Diaspora.
Voting Rights


Now, this being also a reality and the fruits of a persistent struggle by the Kenyans in
Diaspora, We are asking the government for the implementation of instruments, mechanisms
that would assure our ability to vote back in Kenya. Allow me remind you that voting is a
citizen s right. The inability to vote makes us feel left out of our country s electoral process.
And, it is a pity that in the 21st century, and with the advanced communications technologies,
that our country, one of the most advanced on the African continent, shall not make the reality
become true for her citizens in the Diaspora to participate in the country s coming electoral
process. It is even more disheartening to learn that back in the 1970s, Kenyans residing
abroad could vote. It seems to me, therefore, that we have regressed in this sphere and need to
pull up our socks.
I understand that the issue of voting lies with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries
Commission (IEBC). However, the IEBC needs sufficient budgetary allocations to enable it to
put in place the means to enable us participate fully in our country s electoral process.
The Government needs to start putting logistics to ensure that Kenyans in Diaspora can be
able to vote in 2012. Diaspora is ready to work with the Government through their consulates
to ensure that such an exercise can take place .
Effective Diaspora Representation


Hon. Uhuru, if you allow me, I would like to go further than voting rights for the Kenyan
Diaspora. Today, some of us are advocating for effective representation of the Kenyan
Diaspora in the nation s affairs.
The Kenya Diaspora Agenda 2011 Page(s) 3of5
So, why is such representation is necessary? What form should it take?
One, we have cited our rights as citizens of Kenyan to participate in the nation s affairs.
Secondly, we are an extension of our nation that effectively contributes to the nation s
development. It is only natural then, that we seek effective representation in our country s
destiny. Indeed, we view this as the only effective way for the country to connect with its
Diaspora; it is also the most effective way for the Diaspora to participate in our nation s
affairs.
And here, I am speaking about parliamentary and future senate representation from the
Kenyan Diaspora; representation that would truly reflect the interests of those in the Diaspora.
Under the New Constitution, the Kenyan Diaspora is recognized as an electoral constituency
(or constituencies) for purposes of representation in the Kenyan parliament and in the House
of Senate. However, we know that no such structures exist presently to support such
representation; and that we in the Diaspora are not about to make a trip to the polls to elect
our representatives.
Even without the existence of such a constituency, it is still possible to get the Kenyan
Diaspora represented in the current Kenyan parliament. Today, a political party can nominate
to parliament one or more representatives from the Diaspora. Such a conscious decision,
indeed, would endear the party to the Kenyan Diaspora.
There is a saying that go nowhere anyone has been and set a trail! Political parties have the
chance to leave that trail and make political history in our country. To this end, I am
challenging you Hon. Uhuru and the PNU or your next vehicle to presidency to consider this
option before or after the planned on the second Tuesday of August, 2012 elections by our
Constitution.


Whenever I have spoken of this proposition, some people have gasped asking whether there is
a precedent. And yes, there is one I can recall off the top of my head: Italy and Singapore!
What of the coming elections?
As we all know, elections are part of our democratic process through which Wananchi
expresses their will and pick the government that will run the country for the next five years.
Next year promises to a momentous and historical election year like we have never seen
before.
I say momentous and historical because never in our history have we experienced such
democratic space during the Kibaki ONE and the Kibaki TWO coalition governments. There
is almost unfettered freedom of expression and the instruments for information dissemination
remain unmatched in our history. Just look at how many media outlets exist as newspapers,
new magazines, radio and TV stations abound. Moreover, with growth of social networks:
Internet, Facebook, Twitter etc, and mobile telephony, Kenyans have never been more
connected.
In our country, there is optimism that augurs well for the nation; this is seen in the manner
Kenyans participate in the nation s affairs, especially in large political rallies (your return
from the Hague at Uhuru Park); there is also optimism because of the promise of economic
growth whose signs we see today. This growth has engendered confidence that we Kenyans
can develop our nation; and that it is possible to grow the economy beyond the dismal
numbers inherited from the Nyayo era and through a time when the global economic crisis is
roaming!

 

Call to Action
I want to finish by saying that we Kenyans in the Diaspora are an extension of our country;
we remain committed to our nation; that we Kenyans abroad are the true ambassadors of our
nation in the places we live in, in churches and mosques we frequent, in places we work and
indeed in all settings find ourselves in. We love our country and will continue to represent it
as effectively as we possibly can.
We are asking for reciprocation from our government and fellow Kenyans back at home. In
that respect, we seek accommodation to make us full participant in our nation s affairs.
It is in that respect that we ask for full implementation of our New Constitution, the Dual
citizenship and the Voting rights; it is that same respect that we seek representation in the
current Kenyan parliament.
Hon. Uhuru, be assured of my continued full support. Tuko Pamoja!
Long Live Kenya! God Bless Kenya! God Bles You!
Patriot Stephen KINUTHIA
Kenya Community in the Diaspora
Tel : +33 6 77518541
Email : [email protected]

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