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.

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