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


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.