Kenyan Diaspora so fragmented it is impossible to formulate a policy
Diaspora Policy: Much talk about Smoke without Fire.Many Africans still live like their great grand parents. It was raining in my village for a while and I also went back to the pre-historic times. Though we have a gas cooker and electric power, (most of the times) cooking gas in Kenya has reached 2600 Ksh. in my village. That means we had to supplement with makaaand kuni.
My mother showed us how to preserve fire. After cooking was done, she would cover the red hot charcoal with ash. Then get some of the wet firewood and put it close to the chimney. In the morning, the wood would be dry and there would be fire to make a fire to make uji.
Recently, President Uhuru Kenyatta visited London to attend the Somalia summit. He took some time to address the Diaspora. He argued that his government would formulate a Diaspora policy. But with him was the permanent secretary in the ministry of foreign affairs Mr. Thuita Mwangi. In an earlier conversation with Mr. Mwangi he said, “Teddy, the Diaspora is so fragmented that it is impossible to formulate a policy. In the United States for example the ambassador works with groups of Kenyans, not one group.” If that is what the senior most diplomat in Kenya believes about the Diaspora, how can there be any fire under the ash?
Talking to senior government officials, I have come to understand why10 years of Kibaki’s administration has produced just talk! In order for there to be fire in the morning, someone has to have covered the evening fire with ash. In this case, no one in the Kenya government believes in a unified Diaspora policy. And I don’t blame them because, what would be the purpose of a Diaspora policy now? What would the Diaspora do? Vote? The president has nominated all the cabinet secretaries. The other positions have already gone through PSC. And the foreign mission? What foreign mission? The Kenyan Ambassador to the United States in claiming that Kenyans are divided (true), has already poured water on last night’s fire. And what would an ambassador do anyway? Employ the Diaspora in the Embassy? Kenyan Embassy in Washington employs Chinese . . . Chinese Kenyans? I don’t know, I just saw them there.
Diaspora policy is nothing but much talk about nothing. And why do we need a Diaspora policy? To send money to our families? We already do that. To advice the president? On what? The price of cooking gas, tribalism, investments? Ha! I was there when several courageous Diaspora Candidates run for office in the just concluded general election. The Diaspora did nothing for them! Nothing! When IEBC closed the door for Diaspora Vote, the Diaspora talked about, nothing! Only 2600 Diaspora voted! Out of 3million. Thuita Mwangi is right! For there to be a Diaspora policy, there has to be a united Diaspora. The best policy for the Diaspora is, “Every one for himself, God for us all.” Right now, the morning has come and no one put ash on the fire! Therefore, no uji for the Diaspora.
Teddy Njoroge Kamau (PhD), SYR Radio/TV, Director, International Desk.