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: email@example.com
KDA Co-Convenor/Coordinator, Kenya Diaspora Vote (KDV) & Aktive Advocacy Group
New York, USA, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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