KDPM

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Why Asia is eating everyone's lunch.

Facts, Statistics & Observations: Why Asia is eating everybody's lunch. Speaking before the MBA students at Stanford University, the former World Bank President, James Wolfensohn, highlights some very interesting facts, statistics & observations on dramatic changes that have been happening in the world and their consequences on each continent. The most notable observation that he makes is that Asia, specifically China and India are eating everyone's lunch and the rest of the world seems helpless in terms of finding counteracting measures that can reverse this trend. After the industrial revolution that put the USA and Europe on top of the world as far as GDP is concerned, Asia moved strategically to put in place political and economic structures that would make her competitive and attract industries. The measures taken and the structures put in place worked tremendously and within two decades the manufacturing industry has moved from the USA and Europe to Asia. The Service industry has also moved to Asia. And more recently the Technological industry has moved to Asia too. Unless something drastic happens China and India alone are going to have 50% of the world's GDP by the year 2050. Their per capita income will be about $50,000 to 80,000 compared to Africa's which will be at $2,000 to $3,000. To make matters worse, the population of Africa will have grown by about 2 billion people compared to the population of the USA which is projected to grow by only 150 million people within the same period of time. At present the developed world has only 1/6 of the world's population yet it harbors 80% of the world's income. The developing world, Africa included, has 5/6 of the world's population yet only has 20% of the world's income. To make matters worse, 90% of the wealth in the developing world is owned and controlled by only 10% of the population there. The rest of the world, especially the developing world, needs to learn a lot from Asia and take drastic measures to change its political and economic governance structures so as to infuse confidence in local and foreign investors who will in turn help to boost the economic sectors that need to grow for the GDP to grow too. Question: What can the USA do bring back her industries? Please don't give us the same tired lines that politicians give. NB: Still mulling over this & input is welcome. GB.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

CORD gets support on calls for IEBC commissioners to vacate office.

– The calls by the CORD for reconstituting of IEBC have received a boost after Kenyans in the diaspora joined to demand the same.

– The Kenya Diaspora Alliance (KDA) also wants the CORD and Jubilee to sit and sort out their differences amicably.

Kenyans in the diaspora have called upon the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officials to vacate office as demanded by the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD).

Through a statement wired to newsrooms, the Kenyans through their alliance, the Kenya Diaspora Alliance (KDA), has said that it is irked by the recent developments where violence broke out when the CORD called upon its supporters to protest against the IEBC.

We call for cross-board consensus in seeking a legal, civilized, fair and acceptable solution to the current stalemate.

KDA blames IEBC for the developments, saying the commissioners should put the country ahead of their personal interests.
We especially call upon the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and its secretariat to soul search and put the greater good of the country before self.

IEBC is the one in the eye of the storm and the single trigger of the current violence. IEBC’s mishandling of the BVR kits that led to bungled 2013 elections and disputed results, allegations of dizzying levels of corruption against the commissioners, and their blatant disregard for constitutional and legal electoral provisions to favour preferred candidates and political parties have collectively rendered the continued presence of some of the commissioners in office anachronistic.
The constitution provides that any Kenyan above the age of 18 years, including those in the diaspora, may register to vote. Kenyan courts of competent jurisdiction have ordered the IEBC to register Kenyans in the diaspora to enable them to participate in general and presidential elections, but the IEBC has ignored the constitutional provisions on the voting rights of diaspora Kenyans and defied court orders on the same.
There are constitutional provisions regarding how the IEBC can be disbanded. However, constitutional and legal provisions do not preclude honourable actions of principle, and time comes when honour must transcend constitutional and legal provisions. It is also critical that the government too thoroughly, swiftly and fairly investigate various allegations of impropriety against adversely mentioned individual commissioners so that those found culpable can face the full force of law to send out a stern warning that Kenyans can no longer tolerate unethical conduct of government officers or their abuse of office.”

Written by Edward Chweya
Tuko News

Monday, May 09, 2016

Kenyan Diaspora Pro-democracy Movement: Dr. EKURU AUKOT IN MICHIGAN-JUNE

Kenyan Diaspora Pro-democracy Movement: Dr. EKURU AUKOT IN MICHIGAN-JUNE

Dr. EKURU AUKOT IN MICHIGAN-JUNE

Gerald Baraza,  President
KDPM

Am happy to inform you that Kenya's 2017  Presidential candidate, Dr. EKURU AUKOT will be in Michigan in June this year. He will speak on:

CONSTITUTIONALISM AND THE RULE OF LAW AS A GROUND FOR FUNCTIONAL STATES &  THE SEARCH FOR LEADERSHIP IN AFRICA.

Stay tuned for details. If you are interested in participating in this event or hosting Dr. Ekuru for coffee after the event please get in touch ASAP

Email: kdpm2000@gmail.com
Tel: 616-965-5735


http://www.nation.co.ke/news/politics/-/1064/3119292/-/vw1p83z/-/index.html

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Kenya Diaspora Survey

KENYA DIASPORA 2017 (The Forgotten Kenyans): __________________________________ You are invited to participate in an online survey about the political engagement of diaspora Kenyans. Participation in the study typically takes about 20 minutes and is strictly confidential. The survey collects several types of information: basic demographic data; information about which media sources you consult; your logistical preferences for diaspora voting; factors you are likely to consider when voting; and perspectives on Kenyan politics. Through this research, we hope to gain a better understanding of how the voting rights of diaspora Kenyans can best be implemented. Participants who complete the survey will have the option of entering a random drawing for one of ten $50 cash prizes. Contact information will be collected for this purpose but will not be shared and will not be linked in any way to survey responses. The survey can be accessed at the following link: https://unccprojectmosaic.az1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_6fKoIm55W6Xhhjv Please let us know if you have any questions. We hope you will agree to take the survey, and that you will share the link to the survey with other Kenyans living in the diaspora. Beth Elise Whitaker, Ph.D. | Associate Professor Political Science Honors Program Director UNC Charlotte | Department of Political Science and Public Administration 9201 University City Blvd. | Charlotte, NC 28223 Phone: 704-687-7479 | Fax: 704-687-1400 bwhitaker@uncc.edu http://clas-pages.uncc.edu/beth-whitaker/ Shem J. Ochuodho, MSc (Eng), PhD, LLD (Hon)

Chair, KDA

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Kenya Diaspora Advisory Councils

http://www.kenyaembassy.com/news07152011dia.html

ROTATING PRESIDENCY: THIS IS WHAT KENYA NEEDS.

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/council-eu/presidency-council-eu/

Kenya needs to have a Rotating Presidency System.  This will ensure that each region of Kenya gets its chance to produce a President. The term limit can be increased so that one President serves for 6 or 7 years. That is enough time for one to deliver on his vision and promises. Under the current system one region or ethnic group can occupy the presidency forever.  This explains why only two ethnic groups have ruled Kenya since independence in 1963. The rest of the tribes feel marginalized and oppressed.  It also explains why there is unequal distribution of resources and development in the country.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Role of Kenyans in diaspora

https://youtu.be/N6vc-FJorH4

45 Kenyans Banned From USA

45 Kenyans banned from US over corruption

1.Deputy President William Ruto

2. Anne Waiguru.

3. Moses Wetangula

4. Ababu Namwamba

5. Cecily Mbarire

6 Ijara MP- Ahmed Abass

7. Davis Chirchir

8. Felix Koskei

9. Kazungu Kambi

10 .Charity Ngilu

11. Engineer Michael Kamau

12 Gladys Shollei

13. Silas Simiyu

14. Francis Kimemia

15. Prof Njuguna Ndungu

16. Mutea iringo

17. Peter Mangiti

18. Nelson Githinji

19. Jane Waikenda

20. Mary Anne Keittany

21. Lillian Ndegwa

22. Nduva Muli

23. Jimmy Kiamba

24. Caroli Omondi

25. Dr Alfred Mutua

26 .Bitange Ndemo

27. James Oswago

28.  Godana Doyo

29. Alfred Keter

30. Sonia Birdi

31 Okoth Obado

32. Isaac Ruto.

33 Richard Lang’at

34. Peter Kebati

35, Rebecca Nabutola.

36 Paul Wasanga,

37. Evans Ngibuini

38. Alex Kabuga

39. Charles Tonui.

40. Ukur Yatani

41. Lucy Mbugua

42. Richard Onyonka

43. Peter Munya 

44. Zablon Mabeya

45. George Aladwa

Statement By IEBC Chairman Ahmed Isaack Hassan

Full Statement from IEBC - UPDATE ON PREPARATIONS FOR 2017 GENERAL ELECTION
This has been a busy year at the Commission. After the post-election evaluation, the Commission refocused its strategic direction and instituted structural, programmatic and staff changes to enhance its capacity in preparation for 2017 General Election and beyond.
As we come to the end of the year, the Commission would like to announce and update the country on the preparations for the next General Election.
1. ELECTION DATE
The next General Election will be held on Tuesday, August 8, 2017 as per the Constitution. That is only 19 months away or 607 days to be exact.
2. MASS VOTER REGISTRATION
The Commission has continued to register voters as mandated by Article 88(4)(a) of the Constitution to conduct Continuous Registration of Citizens as voters. We have set a target of 22.4 million registered voters for the next General Election, which will be 8 million more than the 14,388,781 registered for the 2013 General Election. It is notable, however, that the
post-2013 continuous voter registration has been slow and uninspiring. Only 106,601 new voters have registered as of June 2015 (see attached data breakdown). In order to upscale this exercise, the Commission will conduct a one-month Mass Voter Registration (MVR) exercise from 15th February to 15th March 2016, during which the Commission targets to register a minimum of 4 million new voters.
We want to urge all eligible Kenyans who have not registered to seize this opportunity to exercise their democratic rights. The Commission call on all stakeholders from civil society, political parties and the government to use this holiday period to sensitize and mobilize the citizens to register en masse during the February Mass Voter Registration.
3. VOTER REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS
Every Kenyan of 18 years and above with valid documents – either a national ID card or passport - is entitled to register and vote or contest in an election. As of December 2014, the National Registration Bureau (NRB) had issued a total of 23.8 million National ID cards. As of July 2015, 284,450 National IDs remained uncollected. In this regard, the Commission is urging the NRB to expedite the registration and issuance of ID cards. We are also calling upon eligible Kenyans to apply for ID cards and those who have not collected theirs to do so in order to register as voters. We repeat: Only ID cards and valid passports will be used for registration.
4. DIASPORA VOTERS
In 2014, the Supreme Court made a ruling on the progressive realization of the democratic rights of Kenyan citizens who reside outside the country as stipulated in the 2010 Constitution. The Court directed the IEBC to initiate "progressive voter registration" and put in place "infrastructure for comprehensive registration so that the number participating shall increase progressively over time".
Consequently, the Commission has adopted a Diasproa Policy to guide the registration and voting by Kenyans abroad. It is now in the process of developing accompanying regulations. The Commission recognizes the challenge of establishing the actual number of Kenyans living abroad or their locations because many do not register with the missions. The decision on the number and countries where polling stations will be set up will be based on the number of those who express interest to register as voters. The policy sets a minimum of 3000 registered Kenyan citizens per country and the existence of a Kenyan diplomatic mission or consulate as some of the criteria to be used in determining the provision of electoral services. The Commission is in the process of establishing baseline data for purposes of setting up registration centres for the Kenyan Diaspora.
The Policy is on the IEBC website and Kenyans are welcome to give their feedback.
5. REFERENDUM
A month ago on 9th November 2015, the Commission received the Draft Bill for the amendment of the Constitution through the popular initiative,
commonly known as Okoa Kenya Referendum. The Commission has started the process of verifying the signatures, which is a laborious exercise, because the documents were submitted in hard copy. This has slowed down the process but it is ongoing.
6. COMMISSION CONCERNS
While the Commission continues with its preparations for the 2017 General Election, it would be futile if other stakeholders don’t play their role in facilitating, or ensuring a conducive electoral environment. The Commission is particularly concerned with the following:
Funding:
The Commission presented its budget to the National Treasury for all electoral activities up to 2017. Out of the budget of KSh2billion for the comprehensive Mass Voter Registration, the Commission received only KShs 500 million. The shortfall has serious implications on the registration exercise.
From our evaluation of the last elections, late and inadequate funding remains one of the main challenges to the Commission’s ability to perform its mandate efficiently. We are calling on The National Treasury to provide adequate and timely funding to enable the Commission prepare for the election adequately.
Electoral Reforms:
As you are aware, in September, the Commission submitted the Elections Amendment Bill to Parliament, which among others contains proposed
changes to regulations on voter registration, voter education. The Commission is also working on new regulations on campaign financing and party nominations (pursuant to Article 88 (4)(d) and Article 90 of the Constitution), which will streamline the electoral practice. . We urge Parliament to expedite the passage of these legislation to avoid last minute changes to the election laws that will wrong foot the Commission’s election management plans.
Security:
Free and fair elections cannot be held in an insecure environment. The Commission therefore regrets the growing prevalence of hate speech that is polarizing the country. We urge the relevant state agencies to move with speed to arrest this potential threat to the electoral process.
Similarly, there are parts of the country that are experiencing border and inter-communal conflict. This will impede the voter registration unless the situation is urgently controlled.
6. ROAD MAP TO 2017 GENERAL ELECTION
The Commission wishes to reassure all Kenyans, stakeholders and partners of its commitment to stage an efficient and credible election in 2017. We will keep the country periodically updated on the preparations through regular briefings. On 14th January 2016, the Commission will unveil its roadmap to the next election.
Asanteni Sana.
AHMED ISSACK HASSAN

Saturday, August 30, 2014

DR. NKOSAZANA’S “AGENDA 2063″: AFRICAN UNITY

Greetings to the family and friends, and good health and best wishes for 2063. I write to you from the beautiful Ethiopian city of Bahir Dar, located on Lake Tana, as we finalize preparations for the Centenary celebrations of the Organisation of African Unity, which evolved to the African Union in 2002 and laid the foundations for what is now our Confederation of African States (CAS). Yes, who would have thought that the dream of Kwame Nkrumah and his generations, when they called in 1963 on Africans to unite or perish, would one day become a reality. And what a grand reality. At the beginning of the twenty first century, we used to get irritated with foreigners when they treated Africa as one country: as if we were not a continent of over a billion people and 55 sovereign states! But, the advancing global trend towards regional blocks, reminded us that integration and unity is the only way for Africa to leverage its competitive advantage. In fact, if Africa was one country in 2006, we would have been the 10th largest economy in the world! However, instead of acting as one, with virtually every resource in the world (land, oceans, minerals, energy, forests) and over a billion people, we acted as fifty-five small and fragmented individual countries. The bigger countries that should have been the locomotives of African integration, failed to play their role at that time, and that is part of the reasons it took us so long. We did not realize our power, but instead relied on donors, that we euphemistically called partners. That was the case in 2013, but reality finally dawned and we had long debates about the form that our unity should take: confederation, a united states, a federation or a union. As you can see, my friend, those debates are over and the Confederation of African States is now twelve years old, launched in 2051. The role played by successive generations of African youth contributed to our success. Already in 2013 during the Golden Jubilee celebrations, it was the youth that loudly questioned the slow progress towards integration. They formed African Union Clubs in schools and universities across the continent, and linked with each other on social media. Thus we saw the grand push for integration, for the free movement of people, for harmonization of education and professional qualifications, with the Pan African University and indeed the university sector and intelligentsia playing an instrumental role. We were a youthful continent at the start of the 21st century, but as our youth bulge grew, young men and women became even more active, creative, impatient and assertive, often telling us oldies that they are the future, and that they (together with women) form the largest part of the electorates in all our countries! Of course this was but one of the drivers towards unity. The accelerated implementation of the Abuja Treaty and the creation of the African Economic Community by 2034 saw economic integration moved to unexpected levels. Economic integration, coupled with infrastructure development, saw intra-Africa trade mushrooming, from less than 12% in 2013 to approaching 50% by 2045. This integration was further consolidated with the growth of commodity exchanges and continental commercial giants. Starting with the African pharmaceutical company, Pan African companies now not only dominate our domestic market of over two billion people, but they have overtaken multi-nationals from the rest of the world in their own markets. Even more significant than this, was the growth of regional manufacturing hubs, around the beneficiation of our minerals and natural resources, such as in the Eastern Congo, north-eastern Angola and Zambia’s copper belt and at major Silicon valleys in Kigali, Alexandria, Brazzaville, Maseru, Lagos and Mombasa, to mention but a few such hubs. My friend, Africa has indeed transformed herself from an exporter of raw materials with a declining manufacturing sector in 2013, to become a major food exporter, a global manufacturing hub, a knowledge centre, beneficiating our natural resources and agricultural products as drivers to industrialization. Pan African companies, from mining to finance, food and beverages, hospitality and tourism, pharmaceuticals, fashion, fisheries and ICT are driving integration, and are amongst the global leaders in their sectors. Africa is now the third largest economy in the world. As the Foreign Minister’s retreat in Bahir Dar in January 2014 emphasized, we did this by finding the balance between market forces and strong and accountable developmental states and RECS to drive infrastructure, the provision of social services, industrialization and economic integration. Let me recall what our mutual friend recently wrote: “The (African) agrarian revolution had small beginnings. Successful business persons (and local governments) with roots in the rural areas started massive irrigation schemes to harness the waters of the continent’s huge river systems. The pan-African river projects – on the Congo, the Nile, Niger, Gambia, Zambezi, Kunene, Limpopo and many others – financed by PPPs that involved African and BRIC investors, as well as the African Diaspora, released the continent’s untapped agricultural potential. By the intelligent application of centuries-old indigenous knowledge, acquired and conserved by African women who have tended crops in all seasons, within the first few years bumper harvests were being reported. Agronomists consulted women about the qualities of various grains – which ones survived low rainfalls and which thrived in wet weather; what pests threatened crops and how could they be combated without undermining delicate ecological systems. The social impact of the agrarian revolution was perhaps the most enduring change it brought about. The status of women, the tillers of the soil by tradition, rose exponentially. The girl child, condemned to a future in the kitchen or the fields in our not too distant past, now has an equal chance of acquiring a modern education (and owning a farm or an agribusiness). African mothers today have access to tractors and irrigation systems that can be easily assembled. The producers’ cooperatives, (agribusinesses) and marketing boards these women established help move their produce and became the giant food companies we see today.’ We refused to bear the brunt of climate change and aggressively moved to promote the Green economy and to claim the Blue economy as ours. We lit up Africa, the formerly dark continent, using hydro, solar, wind, geo-thermal energy, in addition to fossil fuels. And, whilst I’m on the Blue economy, the decision to form Africa-wide shipping companies, and encourage mining houses to ship their goods in vessels flying under African flags, meant a major growth spurt. Of course the decision taken in Dakar to form an African Naval Command to provide for the collective security of our long coastlines, certainly also helped. Let me quote from our mutual friend again: ‘Africa’s river system, lakes and coast-lines abound with tons of fish. With funding from the different states and the Diaspora, young entrepreneurs discovered… that the mouths of virtually all the rivers along the east coast are rich in a species of eel considered a delicacy across the continent and the world. Clever marketing also created a growing market for Nile perch, a species whose uncontrolled proliferation had at one time threatened the survival of others in Lake Victoria and the Nile. Today Namibia and Angola exploit the Benguela current, teaming with marine life, through the joint ventures funded by sovereign funds and the African Development Bank.” On the east coast, former island states of Seychelles, Comoros, Madagascar and Mauritius are leading lights of the Blue economy and their universities and research institutes attract marine scientists and students from all over the world. My dear friend, you reminded me in your last e-mail how some magazine once called us ‘the hopeless continent’, citing conflicts, hunger and malnutrition, disease and poverty as if it was a permanent African condition. Few believed that our pledge in the 50th Anniversary Declaration to silence the guns by 2020 was possible. Because of our firsthand experience of the devastation of conflicts, we tackled the root causes, including diversity, inclusion and the management of our resources. If I have to single out one issue that made peace happened, it was our commitment to invest in our people, especially the empowerment of young people and women. By 2013 we said Africa needed a skills revolution and that we must change our educationsystems to produce young people that are innovative and entrepreneurial and with strong Pan African values. From early childhood education, to primary, secondary, technical, vocational and higher education – we experienced a true renaissance, through the investments we made, as governments and the private sector in education and in technology, science, research and innovation. Coupled with our concerted campaigns to eradicate the major diseases, to provide access to health services, good nutrition, water and sanitation, energy and shelter, our people indeed became and are our most important resource. Can you believe it my friend, even the dreaded malaria is a thing of the past. Of course this shift could not happen without Africa taking charge of its transformation, including the financing of our development. As one esteemed Foreign minister said in 2014: Africa is rich, but Africans are poor. With concerted political determination and solidarity, and sometimes one step back and two steps forward, we made financing our development and taking charge of our resources a priority, starting with financing the African Union, our democratic elections and our peacekeeping missions. The Golden Jubilee celebrations were the start of a major paradigm shift, about taking charge of our narrative. Agenda 2063, its implementation and the milestones it set, was part of what brought about this shift. We developed Agenda 2063 to galvanize and unite in action all Africans and the Diaspora around the common vision of a peaceful, integrated and prosperous Africa. As an overarching framework, Agenda 2063 provided internal coherence to our various sectoral frameworks and plans adopted under the OAU and AU. It linked and coordinated our many national and regional frameworks into a common continental transformation drive. Planning fifty years ahead, allowed us to dream, think creatively, and sometimes crazy, to see us leapfrog beyond the immediate challenges. Anchored in Pan Africanism and the African renaissance, Agenda 2063 promoted the values of solidarity, self-belief, non-sexism, self-reliance and celebration of our diversity. As our societies developed, as our working and middle classes grew, as women took their rightful place in our societies, our recreational, heritage and leisure industries grew: arts and culture, literature, media, languages, music and film. WEB du Bois grand project of Encyclopedia Africana finally saw the light and Kinshasha is now the fashion capital of the world. From the onset, the Diaspora in the traditions of Pan Africanism, played its part, through investments, returning to the continent with their skills and contributing not only to their place of origin, but where the opportunities and needs were found. Let me conclude this e-mail, with some family news. The twins, after completing their space studies at Bahir Dar University, decided to take the month off before they start work at the African Space Agency, to travel the continent. My old friend, in our days, trying to do that in one month would have been impossible! But, the African Express Rail now connects all the capitals of our former states, and indeed they will be able to crisscross and see the beauty, culture and diversity of this cradle of humankind. The marvel of the African Express Rail is that it is not only a high speed-train, with adjacent highways, but also contains pipelines for gas, oil and water, as well as ICT broadband cables: African ownership, integrated planning and execution at its best! The continental rail and road network that now crisscross Africa, along with our vibrant airlines, our spectacular landscapes and seductive sunsets, the cultural vibes of our cities, makes tourism one of our largest economic sectors. Our eldest daughter, the linguist, still lectures in Kiswahili in Cabo Verde, at the headquarters of the Pan African Virtual University. Kiswahili is now a major African working language, and a global language taught at most faculties across the world. Our grand children find it very funny how we used to struggle at AU meetings with English, French and Portuguese interpretations, how we used to fight that the English version is not in line with the French or Arabic text! Now we have a lingua franca, and multi-lingualism is the order of the day. Remember how we used to complain about our voice not being heard in trade negotiations and the Security Council, how disorganized, sometimes divided and nationalistic we used to be in those forums, how we used to be summoned by various countries to their capitals to discuss their policies on Africa? How things have changed. The Confederation last year celebrated twenty years since we took our seat as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, and we are a major force for global stability, peace, human rights, progress, tolerance and justice. My dear friend, I hope to see you next month in Haiti, for the second round of unity talks between the Confederation of African States and the Caribbean states. This is a logical step, since Pan Africanism had its roots amongst those early generations, as a movement of Africans from the mother continent and the Diaspora for liberation, self-determination and our common progress. I end this e-mail, and look forward to seeing you in February. I will bring along some of the chocolates from Accra that you so love, which our children can now afford. Till we meet again, Nkosazana

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Counter Africa Summit on August 4, 2014 at Howard University.

Hello, the Clan! I was asked to forward. I did because I agree with the spirit of the organizers. Prof. Horace Campbell spoke at an event I organized within 4 day's notice. Emira Woods is a force to contend with. Both are proven and seasoned in African Affairs. I agree with the planners, the US-Africa Summit heralds much of the same with unbridled profiteers on one hand and bleeding hearts, apron-string philanthropists on the other hand. Then you have the jokers scrambling for a piece. If you have to withdraw and simply watch the scenes come and go, it is not a bad idea. Resource-rich Africa is exploited and hapless Africa is rescued. In my early coffee break, I thought about it. My phone rank, it was my Dad. "So Mamie (how he calls me), how is it going with the Summit and I learnt Republicans voted to sue Obama." My response: Daddy, nothing is going to happen. Obama may be trying but his hands may be tied. He has to play ball with his base - those who influence him, corporate types and the military -industrial complex whom he must listen to in order not to appear as a black, weak president. Even Al Sharpton, no word from him. I thought he should have opened the Summit with the People's Prayer Breakfast for Africa. " Then I started laughing: "black actors are very mad or very confused in this Summit." The conversation changed to pleasantries as my Dad was obviously amused, judging from his listening, not in a hurry to say, "I love you, say hi to your sister, bye." Back to it. In each society, the center is preserved through healthy balance. In the case, the main subject, the African people, are relegated to peripheral watchers with no support whatsoever from their governments who are wasting African resources to arrive in Washington DC, with assorted entourage, as feted guests with no agenda. The money these folks are misusing is more than the budget of a village near them. Using the different voices in the polyphonic jamboree, any serious mind can identify and and analyze the importance of the agendas: the purposes and outcomes that commonly escape change. I am a stickler for order, the type that believes in giving back, paraphrasing JFK, we should not look forward to what we can get out of Africa but how we can help her grow for the collateral benefit of all. If I may say so, the disregard, insensitivity, arrogance and ignorance of our own officials and governments can overwhelm the best of patriots. In Things Fall Apart, we analyze the contextual meaning in a given situation: Turning and Turning in the Widening Gyre The Falcon Cannot Hear the Falconer Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the World I get direct responses when I forward mails. Please read below and call the event coordinator directly at: 301-267-7328 MsJoe

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

POSTPONEMENT OF THE TOWN HALL MEDIA MEETINGS AS SIDE-EVENTS FOR ENGAGEMENT OF THE AFRICAN DIASPORA

Dear All, The African Union Commission wishes to inform the African Diaspora Community that the Town Hall meetings designed as side-events of the Africa-US Leaders Summit to engage the African Diaspora media on the implementation of the AU Communication strategy and Agenda 2063 in Washington and New York on 4 and 8 August 2014 has been postponed. The events will be rescheduled to take place on the margins of the UN General Assembly in September 2014. The event has been postponed because CIDO and the Directorate of information and Communication that were organizing the meeting were advised to change the dates to avoid perceived logistic and political difficulties surrounding the Africa-US Leaders Summit. The Commission wishes to thank Diaspora personalities and institutions for their commitment and support for the program and the efforts that they have invested to mobilize Diaspora communities and build up momentum for the event. Furthermore, we wish to encourage wide participation in events organized by the Diaspora Community around the Africa-US Summit. The delegation of the African Union Commission to the Summit and the AU office in Washington will do all that they can to ensure that the Diaspora Community are well-briefed on Summit events and outcomes. It is important to emphasize that the commitment of the AU to engage the Diaspora media as a vehicle for building a comprehensive stakeholder community in the Union that involves all sectors of society remains paramount. Thus the media event has not been cancelled but has been postponed to facilitate a more focused and wider broad approach church within a more suitable political environment. The Commission deeply regrets any inconvenience that this may have caused. The Directorate of Information and Communication and CIDO are liaising appropriately with the higher authorities of the Commission to fix new and precise dates for this event in September that will not be subject to further changes. We request your kind tolerance and understanding in this process and will communicate the new dates and venue soon. We continue to ask for your support to make the events a success in September 2014. Diaspora Division Citizens and Diaspora Directorate (CIDO) AU Commission

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Not everyone called 'thief' is a thief, and not everyone who shouts 'baggage' is clean!

Dr.Shem Ochuodho: Good people, Exactly 10 years ago, I was unceremoniously hounded out of the Kenya Pipeline (KPC) and dragged to court, for reasons that were a confluence of political and business interests, disguised as 'abuse of office' or simply corruption charges. After 10 very painful years of ostracization and pariah-hood that almost destroyed my professional career, the High Court in Nairobi recently dismissed the charges against me. I want to thank the good Lord who allowed me to live long enough to see the day of vindication. I am reminded of a lady sacked by a former employer (one of the leading media houses), had to wait for 35 years for the outcome of her matter, for a verdict in her favour to be read only 10 days after her death. How cruel - and I feel it for her! I want to thank family, relatives and friends who did not for a moment lose faith in me, my integrity, truthfulness to what I profess and fidelity to the law. This includes my lawyer-friends (James Kounah & Philip Ocharo) who defended me almost on pro-bono basis! Often it is claimed 'corruption fights back, with ill-acquired wealth used to buy judges'. Not so in this case. I want to thank the Judiciary, more so the presiding Judge whose name I didn't even know until after the good news (the ruling) was broken to me! While commending the justice systems for improved dispensation of justice, as a country we are not out of the woods yet. We still have a long way to go. This is why I would want to caution friends from being judgmental. Not all that glitters is gold. That the media totally failed to report on this ruling just goes to confirm the conspiracy theories. As for my next line of action, I'll still take a breather and celebrate the vindication. What am certain not to do is to revenge: as the good Book says, 'vengeance is mine'. Aluta, Shem

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Press Release

AS THE 48TH COUNTY, THE KENYAN DIASPORA DEMANDS BETTER LEADERSHIP, AN END TO INSECURITY, INSTITUTIONALIZED CORRUPTION, NEPOTISM, AND ANIMOSITY WITH THE “WEST” July 16, 2014: The catastrophic and escalating levels of insecurity in Kenya continue to appall the Kenyan Diaspora Community. We believe that this situation is indicative of underlying failures in our beloved country including but not limited to inequality, sky-rocketing cost of living, an inept and reactive security system, unemployment-marginalization and exclusion of the youth, nepotism, corruption and a failure to give due attention to Agenda Four reforms. The Kenyan Diaspora is deeply connected to Kenya because regardless of where we go, we are first and foremost Kenyan. We also have family, friends, property and initiatives that we care about and would like to see prosper in peace. The Diaspora Community is calling on the government to use any legitimate means necessary to ensure the immediate and long-term security of Kenyans. Should that call for an overhaul of the security systems, so be it. On 27 April, Jung Hong-won, the Prime Minister of South Korea, accepted responsibility for the sinking of the MV Sewol and announced his resignation. While we are not asking of the same for Kenya, we stress the need for Kenyan leaders to take Kenyan lives seriously with full responsibility. We would rather a culture of 'resignation' than leaders being forced out of office for failing to live up to their mandate. Kenya and Kenyans lives are bigger than any one of us, including the leadership – both in government and opposition. The Kenyan Diaspora is concerned about the growing rift between our country and the traditional “Western” allies. Regardless of our view of the west, international systems today call for interdependence. Alienating a certain part of the world only serves to harm relations that could promote trade, tourism and other exchanges. Let’s keep in mind that a good percentage of the Kenyan Diaspora, including students and many of our national leaders’ kids, live, study and work in the “West”. The Diaspora Community calls on our government to maintain good diplomatic relations with these traditional allies to ensure that Kenyans are happy and protected even when abroad, even as we forge relations with new partners as is commendably happening. After all, the ‘East’ and ‘West’ themselves appear to relate very well; why can’t we do the same with both, and even more? We can play a major role in Diaspora Diplomacy and remain available to contribute towards improving relations between Kenya and host countries. The upcoming August 2014 USA-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington DC is one rare, excellent opportunity for such Diaspora involvement. The Diaspora has been interested in and should be a major stakeholder in our national dialogue to protect, promote and fulfill democracy, social justice and the rule of law. The Diaspora strongly feels that there is exclusion in the Kenyan governance system. Presently only 27 ethnic groups are represented in Parliament, and much worse only two or three dominate the higher echelons of our National Government, leaving others with no voice in this important aspect of their lives. We call upon the leadership to use affirmative action and other provisions in the Constitution to ensure that diversity in governance and in all spheres of the Kenyan economy is a reality. Inclusiveness and equity are values strongly anchored in Article 10 of our new constitution, and should not be blatantly defiled this early in its implementation. Finally, we are ready to work with our county and national governments to pursue the well being of the individual, the family and the communities, and sustain the environment for the benefit of future generations. Most conflicts can be traced to deteriorating and unsustainable mis-management of our environment. The current raid on our precious natural fauna and flora is unacceptable, knowing their importance to our very existence and prosperity. Besides, historical injustices relate to inequitable access to resources like land. The current model of developing few urban settings and neglecting rural settings is not the way to go. We should take advantage of the devolved systems and technological innovations to ensure equitable development and wealth creation across board. As a way forward for national healing, reconciliation and inspiration towards a common good, we reiterate a call we made immediately after the elections last year for the constitution of a “National Consultative Assembly (NCA)”, which would include the executive (at both national and county levels), legislatures, political parties, clergy, youth, women, disabled, civil society, professionals, Diaspora, private sector, workers, academia, minorities, media, and any other segment of society that will add value to the process. The NCA could leverage Agenda 4 and the Truth, Justice & Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) Report to inform the national consultation process. We see all-inclusive consultation, not just between politicians alone but across-board, as the only way to reunite the country and hit the road towards greatness and real, sustainable growth we can all once more own, associate with and be proud of. ######### The Kenya Diaspora Alliance (KDA) is a Federation of over 30 of the major Diaspora organizations with a combined nominal membership of about 250,000 Kenyans across the globe. KDA has recently secured a historic Court of Appeal verdict for all Diaspora to be facilitated to vote for all elective offices in future elections. The Alliance and the organizations it represents, seek to facilitate an inclusive exchange of information for the purpose of developing and promoting the participation of the Kenyan Diaspora in national development. For more information contact: Conveners, Kenya Diaspora Alliance (For and on behalf of) Dr Shem Ochuodho KDA Convenor/Chairman, New Vision Kenya (NVK) Juba, South Sudan, Tel: +211-955-021040, Email: shemochuodho@yahoo.com Peter Kerre KDA Co-Convenor/Coordinator, Kenya Diaspora Vote (KDV) & Aktive Advocacy Group New York, USA, Email: peter.kerre@aktiveadvocacygroup.com ----- end ---- __._,_.___

Kenyans in diaspora warn state against isolating the West

BY LYDIA MATATA Kenyans in Diaspora have raised concerns over what they see as a growing rift between Kenya and the West. In a statement signed by Kenya Diaspora Alliance chairman Shem Ochuodho and Coordinator Peter Kerre, the alliance has warned the government against “alienating” certain parts of the world saying that it only serves to harm relations that could promote trade, tourism and other exchanges. The statement comes days after the government on Saturday issued a travel advisory warning Kenyan citizens against travelling through London’s Heathrow airport. Foreign Affairs Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohammed said however that the advisory was not a retaliation for travel advisories issued by the UK government. “Let’s keep in mind that a good percentage of the Kenyan Diaspora, including students and many of our national leaders’ kids, live, study and work in the West” KDA said in the statement released on Wednesday. KDA further said that the upcoming August 2014 USA-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington DC which President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to attend, is an opportunity for the diaspora community to help towards better relations between Kenya and host countries. The Diaspora community has also called on the government to curb escalating levels of insecurity. “We believe that this situation is indicative of underlying failures in our beloved country including but not limited to inequality, skyrocketing cost of living, an inept and reactive security system, unemployment-marginalization and exclusion of the youth, nepotism, corruption and a failure to give due attention to Agenda Four reforms.” KDA said. The alliance said that the insecurity levels may call for an overhaul of the security system pointing to the example of South Korean Prime Minister Jung Hong-Won took responsibility for a ferry disaster in that claimed more than 300 lives after and resigned on April 27. “While we are not asking of the same for Kenya, we stress the need for Kenyan leaders to take Kenyan lives seriously with full responsibility. We would rather a culture of 'resignation' than leaders being forced out of office for failing to live up t o their mandate. Kenya and Kenyans lives are bigger than any one of us, including the leadership – both in government and opposition.” KDA said. - See more at: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-177489/kenyans-diaspora-warns-state-against-isolating-west#sthash.b9sKRivk.dpuf

Friday, June 06, 2014

Kenyans in the Diaspora will now fully participate in the general elections beginning 2017.

This was after the Court of Appeal ruled that IEBC should set more facilities and infrastructure in the Diaspora to allow voter registration in preparation for the next election.While delivering the ruling, Justice Roselyn Nambuye directed the IEBC to ensure that Kenyans in Diaspora vote for all positions vied for in the next general elections.During the last general election, the question whether voters in the Diaspora were eligible to vote or not generated heated debate. In the end, scores of voters within the East African nations were the only lucky Kenyans in Diaspora who managed to vote.The case was filed by New Vision Kenya and Kenyans in Diaspora who sought the IEBC to ensure that all Kenyans in the Diaspora vote in the next elections. By Wangui Ngechu

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Kenyan envoy to US defends staff in ethics row

By Antony Karanja Kenya’s ambassador to the US has dismissed allegations that embassy staff in Washington DC were inefficient, rude and unprofessional. Ms Jean Kamau was responding to reports in the Kenyan media that the embassy ignored calls. There have also been concerns on under- staffing and inadequate resources to cater for Kenyans in the US. Ms Kamau, who spoke to the Nation in Dallas, denied the reports. She said Kenyans were treated well whether living in the diaspora or as visitors who wanted to travel to our motherland. The envoy said the embassy staff were equipped to process the large number of applications and queries they received. She said there was a channel to direct complaints on their website. Ms Kamau asked Kenyans to lodge formal complaints with the embassy “so that there is proper follow-up on any issues they may encounter.” She said that the embassy would respond to all the grievances.

Body formed to boost investment by Kenyans in the diaspora

By RAWLINGS OTINI The government plans to establish a body that will make it easy for Kenyans in the diaspora to do business and help them harness more gains from their earnings abroad. The director for diaspora and consular affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Zachary Muburi-Muita disclosed that plans are at an advanced stage to establish the National Diaspora Council of Kenya (NADICOK). The body will help to champion policies that will help the Kenyan diaspora to do business more efficiently by providing advisory information and devising relevant investment vehicles. The Kenyan embassy in France promised to negotiate special terms with commercial banks and facilitate business transactions for the Kenyan diaspora in France and countries such as Serbia and Portugal.
Left to right: Mr Tom Ndalo, Head of Retail Bank of Africa Kenya, Mr Anis Kaddouri -Deputy Managing Director - Bank of Africa Kenya, Mr. Mohamed Bennani - Group CEO Bank of Africa Ambassador Salma Ahmed, Kenya’s ambassador to France said that Kenyans in the diaspora need to focus more keenly and seriously on business. They were speaking during the second Kenya Diaspora Trade and Investment Conference on 31st May 2014 organized by the embassy of Kenya in France and Bank of Africa. Kenyans in the diaspora normally send home more than Sh100 billion annually. The government has been working to help them realize more returns from the money and also invest in government projects. Some of the policies include the floating of the diaspora bond, investment in infrastructure bonds among others. World Bank findings shows that a large percentage of the remittances go towards buying basic needs and paying school fees for family and relatives.

Uhuru's new appointee faces herculean task at Diaspora docket

By BMJ MURIITHI When Ambassador Zachary Dominic Muburi-Muita was appointed as head of the Directorate of Diaspora Affairs, not many Kenyans noticed. In fact, few knew that such a post existed within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. By appointing a seasoned diplomat to the post, the President must have been trying to send a subliminal message to his critics that he is serious about engaging with the Diaspora. However, Kenyan media largely snubbed the news of the appointment, perhaps considering it too mundane. The only mention of Mr Muita was on a Facebook post where the Director of Digital, New Media and Diaspora relations, Dennis Itumbi, announced that issues regarding Kenyans living outside the country would be handled by the new director. But even then, he misspelt his name, referring to him as Mr Mwamburi. DIGITAL PROMISE In July last year, Mr Kenyatta announced a major reorganisation in his office and appointed the hitherto blogger-cum-activist the Director of newly created Digital, New Media and Diaspora Department. An elated Itumbi said: “I pledge to lead the path in delivering the Digital promise and to connect the concerns and ideas of Kenyans in the Diaspora and those on the digital space with Government service and the Presidency.” But the excitement was short lived, or so it seemed. Soon after the appointment, all manner of barbs began flying his way, with some even faulting the President for “relegating the Diaspora affairs into a small corner of his office.” The most high profile denigration came from former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, who rubbished Mr Itumbi’s appointment saying: “The kind of character who has been appointed by the Government… I don’t think has the kind of connection and capacity to bring the Diaspora together.” TAKE THE BLAME In an interview with Nation.co.ke in Dallas, Texas, Mr Odinga criticised President Kenyatta for creating a “mere desk in his office and not giving the Diaspora the seriousness it deserves.” Since then, Mr Itumbi has on several occasions found himself on the receiving end as he, sometimes unsuccessfully, tried to explain what the exact mandate of his office is. (READ: You have failed us, Kenyans in US tell Jubilee government) Mr Muburi-Muita faces a herculean task in the newly created Directorate. Controversy has dogged the Diaspora desk since its establishment by the President Uhuru Kenyatta. Before his appointment was announced, Mr Itumbi said: "On the Diaspora front, it must be said from the depth of my heart and mind, we did not do a good job in 2013. "The ideas and planning were superb, but the execution has been slow and the impact dismal. There are many reasons, but instead of naming them for now, I take the blame.” As the Jubilee administration marked its first year in office last April, Mr Kenyatta was fiercely criticised by Kenyans in the Diaspora. Some said their agenda was never given much thought both in the TNA and URP manifestoes prior to the merger of the two parties. “The chickens are now coming home to roost. It is a clear indication that from the word go, we were just a by-the-way in grand scheme of things,” said Jeremy Anguka in an interview with Nation.co.ke in Washington DC. KENYA'S 48TH COUNTY Others urged the President to cut the rhetoric and act. “What we want to see are tangible results. We are tired of speeches,” said Wainaina Mbugua soon after President Kenyatta delivered a speech in Kampala during a meeting with Kenyans living in Uganda three months ago. “My government considers the Diaspora the single biggest asset outside the country for the developmental roles it plays through remittances,” the President had said. In May last year, President Kenyatta told Kenyans living in the UK that he considers the Diaspora as Kenya’s 48th county. “My Government is developing instruments of engagement to bolster relationship with you, the Diaspora to ensure there is a inn enabling environment for you to invest in key projects in the country,” he said. One year later, this is yet to be actualised. The entry of Mr Muburi-Muita is however seen as a step in the right direction. “He has what it takes to streamline the Diaspora and bring it to par with other progressive Diasporas,” said Peterson Muthoga of Atlanta, Georgia. Mr Muita sought to assure Kenyans in the Diaspora that they will see positive changes in the very near future. The envoy said his immediate assignment is to ensure that the eagerly awaited Kenya Diaspora Policy is out by mid June. “Once we do this, our mandate and terms of engagement will be clear and we will all be reading from the same script,” he told Nation.co.ke during a phone interview. ECONOMIC MUSCLE Last year, the Kenyan Diaspora remitted over Sh110 billion which is the equivalent of 5.4 per cent of the country’s GDP. (READ: Kenyans abroad send home Sh110.7 billion) Vision 2030, Kenya’s economic blueprint unveiled in 2007, was cognisant of the role of the Diaspora as a key player in the country’s economic development. But even as the Diaspora is hailed for its economic muscle, it has variously been criticised for lack of cohesion. According to Ms Regina Njogu, a Washington DC based lawyer, divisions in the Diaspora make it very difficult for any meaningful engagement. “They have failed to form into an inclusive organization. Instead of a streamlined umbrella Diaspora body, what we have is a proliferation of organisations all over the world, most with no national outlook,” she wrote in an opinion piece in the Nairobi Law Monthly. So who is this man tasked with a spearheading activities in one of the five key pillars of Kenya’s Foreign Policy? Mr Mumburi-Muita is a career diplomat who, prior to his appointment as the envoy to the UN by President Mwai Kibaki in 2006, served as Kenya’s High Commissioner to Tanzania. TIME TO DELIVER Previously, he was a Principal Counsellor at the Kenya Embassy in Israel and the head of the Middle East Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He also served as the head of the Americas Division, Senior Assistant Secretary and Acting Head of the Asia and Australasia Division. The envoy also acted in various capacities in Kenya’s missions abroad, including in the Netherlands and the Sudan. In January 2010, he was elected President of the UN High-Level Committee on South-South Cooperation, which spearheaded the intergovernmental review and policymaking of South-South Cooperation. Prior to his current undertaking, he was the head of the UN office to the African Union in Addis Ababa, appointed by Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in 2010. As to whether Mr Muburi-Muita will deliver, only time will tell.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

A Brief History of the Struggle for Diaspora Representation and Why We Must Rise Again

From a much-publicized 2005 Jerry Okungu dismissal of diaspora Kenyans as distant relatives who remain irrelevant to the development of Kenya, we are now discussing the merits of diaspora appointments in Presidential offices in 2013. Between 2001 and 2005, there was an unstructured restlessness building up over a growing diaspora that wished to be counted in all matters Kenyan. Then something vibrant, structured and noteworthy happened between 2006 and 2013; the diaspora began to rise up as citizens of Kenya, knocking on political, philanthropic, diplomatic and business doors. Dual citizenship was won, proposals were presented to visiting Ministers, some which inspired new vehicles in the remittances business, smart philanthropy arose, investment groups cropped up, and new think tanks explored the impenetrable jungle of foreign policy influence. But without legislated diaspora representation and engagement with its own government, a lot of these efforts are dead in the water. Even partnerships withprivate sector depend on political goodwill. It is the reason why other countries have seen the wisdom in legislating engagement with their own diasporas. Kenya has seen the light in this regard too, hence the Diaspora Bill. But this piece of legislation is little talked about, its history little understood, and its purpose all together lost to the diaspora. Instead, we’re becoming nonchalant as President after Prime Minister make personal diaspora appointments in political offices. Let’s not get fixated on partisan appointments and deny ourselves an opportunity to address the real issue. The Digital, New Media and Diaspora office should remove the “diaspora” appendage from its title. The office is primarily a government spin zone with little room for independent thought, its Director is paid to advance an agenda that is purely protective of the status quo, and for this reason, this office should never have anything to do with diaspora affairs. Which begs the question, what is the ethos of diaspora affairs that it cannot be addressed by officials hand-picked by politicians? Beside its economic and philanthropic role in the Kenyan society, diaspora is also a watchdog, a thorn in the conscience of government. This is a near-sacrosanct characteristic and role that diaspora organizations should fiercely protect, and one government should appreciate, even as we angle for partnerships. This counterbalance characteristic makes for excellent engagement and vibrant debate that actually expands Kenya’s democratic space and builds institutions. Yet without structures of engagement and representation, this rich essence of the diaspora community is greatly diminished. The Diaspora Bill must be seen through successful enactment and implementation. There are those who find no meaning in history and prefer to work on present concerns without the insight of the past. For them, the relevance of this article ends here. For the rest who like me believe in the Sankofa wisdom of going back to the past to fetch the future, especially when a people have become complacent and compromising in shaping their own destiny, continue reading this brief history of diaspora’s struggle for representation; subjective in its telling, objective in its truth. ------------------------------------------------------------ Back in 2006, the Kenyan Community Abroad (KCA) started the Office and Commission for Kenyans Abroad (OCKA) campaign. As the president of KCA then, I penned the OCKA concept note inspired by a successful lobbying the African diaspora had held for the recognition and representation of Africans in Washington DC. I had observed focused leadership bring together Africans from various countries for a common purpose and succeeded in forming the Africa Office in Washington DC, opening doors for a growing diaspora in the District. The Office on African Affairs was inaugurated with funfair at the Mayor’s office in the US Capital. We could do it too as Kenyans seeking representation in our own home country. The KCA Executive commissioned KCA-France to expand OCKA and work on the effort. As we campaigned, the Kenya government warmed up to the idea of opening an engagement platform with the diaspora, and in 2006 the “Diaspora Technical Team and KEPSA Coordinators” was formed under the Ministry of National Planning. Together with representatives from the KCA Executive, this team came up with a draft session paper titled “Maximizing the Potential and Input of the Kenyan Diaspora in the Political Process, Wealth Creation, Employment Generation, and Poverty Reduction.” It is this session paper that led to the Draft Diaspora Bill of 2007. The 2007 KCA conference brought in the then Minister for National Planning and Development, Hon. Henry Obwocha, to help highlight the push for diaspora representation. We were negotiating for a Diaspora Secretariat or Ministry that would ably deliver on the vast demands of the diaspora agenda. Other diaspora voices proposed a Diaspora Member of Parliament who would ensure the legislation of diaspora interests. But elections happened, and the Diaspora Bill disappeared from the concerns of politicians and technocrats. With a new government, what followed was a sad state of cronyism where the good fight was replaced with the appointment of Diaspora officials accountable to partisan offices in government. In such a case, a Prime Minister or President can appoint anyone to “represent” diaspora without a care for process and integrity in leadership. Not that there's any human being who comes without faults or foibles, but that diaspora too must arise to demand leadership that is capable, vetted, and accountable to the people. The disconnect between government and diaspora’s clamor for representation was also evident in a five-year silence in which no one mentioned the Diaspora Bill. Then suddenly, in 2012, the 2007 Diaspora Bill was re-branded the Draft Diaspora Policy and hurriedly given to diaspora organizations, via the Embassies, for input. It is interesting what governments seeking re-election would do to polish up "achievements" they can take on the campaign trail. But this manner of hurriedly shoving important legislation to diaspora for rubber-stamping was frustrating as very little could really be achieved, and it amounted to taking the primary stakeholders for granted. For example, The Citizenship and Immigration Bill that directly affected diaspora was also a piece of legislation that suddenly demanded diaspora’s input, and only two of us appeared at a last-minute videoconference to give half-baked input on behalf of the diaspora. It remains a problematic law with regard to regaining citizenship. I still reiterate to Kenyan diplomats that diaspora input and presence in key Commissions is important and must not be sought simply to window-dress the process. In May of 2013, diaspora organizations discovered that there existed a government-commissioned “Diaspora Stakeholders’ Taskforce” that did not have diaspora in it; much like having a cup of tea with nothing but water and sugar in it. A hurried workshop was convened for this taskforce, under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to prepare the draft Diaspora Policy for submission to the Cabinet. A KCA official based in Kenya was chosen last-minute to attend the workshop on behalf of the diaspora (READ: Kenyan Diaspora Dismisses a Group Claiming to Speak on their Behalf). The consistent pattern in this struggle seems to have been the presence of a diaspora organization that had been there from the beginning. Even at its most weakened state, KCA's past contributions were recognized and its presence called upon. This underlines the importance of building diaspora organizations as key partners in the development agenda. We made effort to have more diaspora officials who live abroad and daily engaged in diaspora affairs attend the workshop. It’s a very important workshop. This proved futile with the tight time-frame and we settled for the one Kenya-based representative. The fact that the Diaspora Bill had been dusted off the shelves at all was a step in the right direction. Evidently, diaspora had good friends at MoFA, and especially Ambassadors who over the years have become knowledgeable and genuinely interested in diaspora affairs. We supported the workshop, amidst legitimate questions from diaspora about the hushed process, and focused on what seemed to be the final stretch of the long campaign for representation. It’s August 2013, and there is yet again a growing silence over the Diaspora Bill since the Diaspora Stakeholders’ Workshop in May. We must not lose sight of the goal: to entrench legislation that will guide diaspora towards fruitful ways of engagement with their homeland, for generations to come. It is the legacy we owe our children born in foreign lands who will grow up and seek the compass pointing home with a stronger passion than we ever did. It is a thing of wonder to observe later generations of other countries’ diasporas engage in the corridors of power with confidence, achieving their goals time and again, gaining international respect and partnerships for their home countries. We can do it too. An urgent return to fully inclusive talks between representatives from diaspora organizations, government, private sector and civil society, is necessary. No destiny of a people should ever be shaped without the full and satisfactory participation of that community. By Mkawasi Mcharo Hall. Washington, DC.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Hon.Mr. Ahmed Isaak,
Greetings from the Kenyan Diaspora Pro-Democracy Movement-KDPM. First, let me congratulate you and the IEBC for the work that you have done so far in carrying out the mandate entrusted to you by Kenyans. We especially are grateful for the effort that the IEBC has made to reach out to a few Kenyans in different parts of the world to collect their views on various issues that touch on their democratic right to participate in the electoral process. However, we note that there is a real possibility that suggestions and recommendations from the Kenyans in the diaspora that would enhance the registration and voting process of diasporians are being put in danger of being timed out because of the Commission’s inability or unwillingness to listen and carry out our suggestions and recommendations. We are deeply concerned by reliable reports that we have indicating that a decision has been taken by the IEBC not to implement the use of electronic (online) voting as requested by Kenyans in the diaspora.Our question to you is, are you trying to divide Kenyans? Are you trying to serve the interests of a particular group that does not want Kenyans in the diaspora to participate in the electoral process? What was the reason behind the recent advert in the media by IEBC calling for tenders for electronic registers? Is the IEBC trying to hoodwink Kenyans and the world that they are embracing e-voting/e-registration? Why is the IEBC mute on online and mobile voting? If Kenyans can trust money with MPESA, TANGAZA, etc - why not their votes? How have countries like Estonia and Holland been able to embrace and practice e-voting? Why cant Kenya do the same? Is the IEBC incompetent? The concerns of security, credibility of votes cast (dangers of hacking) and benchmarking do not hold any water! The issue of the registration of diaspora voters and the actual voting being done at the Embassies and High Commissions abroad is also another attempt to disenfranchise Kenyans. Asking Kenyans in USA to travel to Washington DC, New York and Los Angeles to register and vote is almost the equivalent of asking Kenyans residing in Morocco, South Africa and Nigeria to travel all the way to Nairobi or Tunis or Maputo to register and vote. How many Kenyans can afford it? It is neither realistic nor practical. Considering the input of the Kenyans in the diaspora is the least we can demand from the IEBC. Your cooperation will ensure that the registration of Kenyans in the diaspora is cost effective and it will advance our democracy by helping to produce results that are agreeable and acceptable as fair by all. Hon.Mr. Ahmed Isaak, PLEASE DO NOT LET KENYANS AND AFRICA DOWN. Sincerely, Gerald Baraza, President Kenyan Diaspora Pro-Democracy Movement

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

CONSTITUTING KDA/DIASPORA TECHNICAL TASK TEAMS FOR EXTERNAL/ELECTRONIC VOTING

Fellow Diasporians & Friends of Diaspora, Further to a resolution from last week’s Kenya Diaspora Alliance (KDA) teleconference, we now proceed to constitute the Task Committees agreed. This process shall be on merit, equitable, inclusive, and transparent to the extent possible. We call upon as many eligible Kenyans (Diasporians or Diaspora friends) to offer themselves and/or be nominated to serve on the committees. Please circulate this call as widely as possible across your networks. The three colleagues who helped draft the last Press Briefing (Dada Mkawasi, Nd. Robin & Nd. Kerre) could help also circulate this among the media houses for wider reach. Below are criteria proposed for those to serve in the Task Committees. Allow me to acknowledge the initial thoughts on this coming from Nd. Peter Kerre/DJ XPect (KDV – New York), with refinements and additional inputs from Dada Sheila Kangu (KEPWA – Dar es Salaam, TZ), Robinson Gichuhi (DMK/G47 – St Louis, Missouri), Gerald Baraza (KPDM – Michigan, USA), Thomas Musau (DCP – London, UK), and myself (NVK-M/G47, Juba South Sudan). This call for nominees/volunteers opens immediately, and remains so until close of business, Thursday 29th March, 5pm Kenya time. Once the names of applicants and profiles (where needed) are received, the Presidents/Chairpersons/Moderators/Convenors of affiliate organizations in KDA will switch into action, sieve through and appoint the Task Committee Members, with terms of reference, scope of work and timelines given. The more proposers/seconders the better, but even single or self proposed/nominated shall be considered. Nominations should be forwarded to Nd. Gerald Baraza and/or Robinson Gichuhi. geraldbaraza2000@yahoo.com, robinsonconnection@gmail.com Many thanks and best regards, Shem, Juba —– Begin Proposed Criteria —- . For technical team, qualifications we ask for are: - Election experience as a decision maker - Electronic Voting expertise or experience - Information Technology Architecture, design, and/or security. Over 5 yrs experience - Experience in at least one national election cycle - Preferably politically non-partisan and with high integrity (doesn’t have to be all of the above combined…can be electoral or technical expertise) (resume needed) B. For Legal team - Registered lawyer in respective country and advocate of High Court of Kenya - Political scientist versed with public policy and new katiba - Practicing politician or political activist versed with public policy and new katiba (resume needed) C. For Viral/Communications team - Must demonstrate that they have a wide outreach to masses of the Kenya diaspora community via Facebook, twitter, and/or mailing lists - Practicing or professional journalist, communication/public relations specialist, or proven marketer - Newsmaker or public/large scale opinion shaper (no resume needed but proof of connections needed, save for professionals for whom resumes are needed] D. For Finance team - Fundraising expertise and history Strong business community ties and/or professional networks - Financial background (resume needed and proof of connects) [All candidates above must either be Diaspora, conversant with Diaspora issues, and/or demonstrated friend of Diaspora] —- END —-

Monday, March 12, 2012

“We will not be left out” – Diaspora Say

Friends, At yesterday's milestone Diaspora teleconference, it was resolved that Diaspora will explore all acceptable lawful means to ensure their constitutional rights are not trampled on, including but not limited to litigation. Read on statement:- March 11, 2012 “We will not be left out” – Diaspora Say The Kenyan Diaspora has said that they are not going to left out of Kenya's political process ever at a 3 hour virtual meeting on Sunday March 11, 2012, that brought together over 100 diaspora leaders and various organizations from the United States, China, Germany, U.K., Jamaica, Fiji, France, Finland, Canada, Australia and several African countries. The meeting participants resolved to ensure that the civil rights of Kenyans living abroad are not any longer violated. At the center of the discussion was the systematic exclusion of the group (Diaspora) that brings in more foreign exchange into the Kenyan economy than any other single sector, including tourism. "We contribute heavily towards the economy, yet 'they' do not want us to participate fully in the political framework", one participant said. Since independence, noted various participants, the government of Kenya has never made express arrangements for Kenyans in the Diaspora to vote from their various locations around the world. "We have been taken for granted", one angry participant said, "...and we are not going to be tossed around sitting down." Diaspora Stand On the issue of electronic voting, the participants in the meeting made the following very clear: 1. Voting for any Kenyan, whether in Kenya or abroad is a fundamental right that is protected under the constitution and African Human and People’s Rights Charter. 2. From the meeting, a joint diaspora force is going to make express arrangement to ensure participation and will not acknowledge any process by the current government’s task force and/or ambassadorial offices without direct Diaspora participation and input. Indeed, there are thousands of qualified individuals in the diaspora to sit on taskforces to contribute towards drafting procedure on voting registration and working out a viable and inclusive electoral process. 3. All necessary action, up to and including legal action will be fully implemented to ensure the Kenyans abroad vote electronically. Kenya is neither a monarchy nor a dictatorship. Any political machinations towards blocking electronic, online or mobile voting for the diaspora in order to benefit an individual or group's rise to or retention of power will be met with resolute resistance and the full force of law. The right to vote, representation, justice and democracy are inalienable and must prevail. 4. Technology is readily available to enable all Kenyan Diaspora to vote and attempt to stall or thwart this fact is certain to make any government voted in totally illegitimate and illegal. 5. There are more than 3 million Kenyan Diaspora: Denying this number of Kenyans their constitutional right will be inviting additional and unpredictable wrath resulting from such disenfranchisement. The meeting participants finally made various plans and resolutions to move to the next step of ensuring full participation with details to be announced in due course. Diaspora Cooperation The meeting came as a result of three years of effective and consistent cooperation between various diaspora groups around the world who use their networks to facilitate an effective policy dialogue through sharing and exchange of information, knowledge, expertise, new ideas, insights and different perspectives, practical experiences, past lessons and best practices among the migrant organizations, civil society associations, the mainstream development agencies, international organizations and other stakeholders concerned with Kenyans diaspora issues. The participants also vowed to use their collective force, pool their resources and proactively undertake initiatives for the promotion of better governance and full participation of the Kenyan diaspora in Kenya’s social, economic and political development henceforth. The meeting took advantage of technology (Global Skype & telephone connections) to bring together delegates from all the 5 continents. It was coordinated by the Kenya Diaspora Alliance (KDA). Organizations represented include the Diaspora Movement of Kenya [DMK], Kenyans for Change [K4C], Kenya Community Abroad (KCA), Kenya Progressive Women’s Alliance [KEPWA], Kenya UAE Diaspora Movement Association [KUDIMA], New Vision Kenya – Mageuzi [NVK-M], Kenya Global Unity [KGU], Kenya Pro-Democracy Movement [KPDM], Kenya Diaspora Voice [KDV], Kenya Movement for Democracy & Justice [KMDJ], Institute for Development, Democracy & Sovereignty (IADDS), Kikimo Foundation, International Kenya Organization, International Kenya Cooperation [IKC], Diaspora Community Projects [DCP], and Kenya Community Development [KCD], among others.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

IEBC IN USA


Members of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will be in the United States to learn and share views on the issue of Diaspora registration and voting. They will meet with the International Foundation of Elections Systems (IFES), representatives of embassies of countries whose Diaspora in the US votes, Maryland State Board of Elections, Federal Elections Commission (FEC). In addition, they will meet with Kenyans in the Diaspora in the following areas: Washington DC, Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, Raleigh and Boston.

When:Dec 4 – 15, 2011

Where: Washington DC, Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, Raleigh and Boston. (map)

Description:(For further details: please visit: http://kenyaemb​assy.com/news11​252011iebc.html