Peter Kenneth: Let the Kenyan Diaspora Vote

I am very saddened by the Cabinet decision that was communicated to Parliament and the Kenyan people by the Minister for Justice & Constitutional Affairs this afternoon that Kenyans in the Diaspora will not be able to vote in the March 4th 2013 General Election.

This decision completely disenfranchises our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora and denies them their democratic right to play their part in determining the future for their country.

Our brother and sisters in the Diaspora are as much stakeholders in this country as anybody else and therefore deserve the right to choose the leadership of this country. Their remittances to their families and friends here are a big source of foreign exchange as well as a critical source of income for many households. Their representation of the Kenyan identity and Brand Kenya abroad are a great source of pride for us all. They must not be relegated to the spectator’s gallery while it is evident that they play such a critical role in our economy.

At the promulgation of the new constitution, it was clear that Kenyans in the Diaspora would be able to vote in all subsequent elections. It was incumbent on the Government of Kenya through the IEBC to ensure that this happened and there has been a whole two years to do that. The logistical, financial and time constraints that have been given as the main reason for this unfortunate occurrence are insufficient and incommensurate to the infringement of the democratic rights of our brothers and sisters who live and work or study abroad. If South Sudan, the youngest state in the world could do it, why can’t Kenya?

I urge all Kenyans in the Diaspora to stand up and oppose this miscarriage of justice in the strongest terms possible until the government listens to them and guarantees them of their right to vote. The fight for the realization of democracy for all Kenyans has been a long and hard one and the enjoyment of those rights cannot be left at the determination of a few individuals.

As I have stated before, I remain committed to the full implementation of the new constitution to the letter which include the rights of Kenyans in Diaspora to vote.


Peter Kenneth

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