A Case of the 48th Kenyan County – Diaspora voting centers in America
Swahili sages once said “mtafutaji hachoki” (he that searches does not tire). Fortunately, this has been the ongoing search to find a way to incorporate the diaspora vote within the electoral body polity of Kenyan elections. Ambassador Njeru Githae announced on Kenya 360 TV that the government had identified several states where consular offices were to be established to act as voting centers for Kenyans abroad.
Three major issues come to mind. Firstly, the process of identifying the voting centers was not inclusive of the vast diaspora community in America. The measure appears to have been taken in good faith but the lack of inclusivity of the Kenyan diaspora community abroad leads to a lot of unhelpful speculation on the motives of the government.
Secondly, it appears more kosher for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to be engaging in electoral matters of the diaspora abroad rather than the Ambassador who is perceived to have a political agenda rather than an administrative one because of his appointment by the president who has a vested interest in the outcome of the election.
Thirdly, the cart has been put before the horse. The process of identifying where and how many Kenyans are located in the US needs to have been openly conducted to justify the location of the proposed consular offices. Presently, no independent evaluation of the location and size of the Kenyan diaspora in America has been conducted.
In conclusion, diaspora voting in the US needs to be done right or not done at all. Too much innocent blood has been lost over bungled elections in Kenya.
By David Monda