Speaking when he addressed the Kenya Diaspora Conference held at the Church House Conference Centre in London on the sidelines of the Olympic Games, President Kibaki said the Government was on track concerning the enactment of all required Constitution implementation legislation as stipulated in the Fifth Schedule.
Saying that the enactment of the new Constitution remains the most important milestone marking a radical departure from the past and placing Kenya firmly on the path to reformed and accountable governance, the President noted that there are several provisions in the Constitution that are of particular relevance to Kenyans in the Diaspora.
The President noted, for example, that the new Constitution now guarantees dual citizenship and the progressive realization of voting rights.
Said the President: “The Government has already put in place mechanisms to enable those who had previously lost their Kenyan citizenship by acquiring other citizenships to apply for and re-gain their Kenyan citizenship.”
With respect to voting rights, the President said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is committed to facilitating the right of Kenyans in Diaspora to vote during the forthcoming General Election.
“I therefore wish to urge you to register as voters and participate in shaping the destiny of our beloved nation,” added President Kibaki.
The President further assured the Kenya Diaspora that his Government attaches great importance to the over three Million Kenyans working and studying abroad and appreciated their tremendous contribution towards the country’s economic growth.
“Your support of Kenya’s economy through your investments amounting to over one billion dollars annually is appreciated. I now urge you to embark on technological and skills transfer that will facilitate industrialization and employment creation in Kenya,” said the President.
The President further said that in an effort “to facilitate Diaspora investments to Africa, the African Union Commission seeks to establish an Institute which will serve as a tool to assist the continent in building its capacity to improve the regulatory framework and address the high costs on remittances.”
“Kenya”, added the President, “has offered to host the Institute, and we are hopeful that our bid will receive wide support.”
Noting that the financial services sector has an important role to play in mobilizing domestic and external funds to implement development projects, President Kibaki commended the Kenya Commercial Bank Group and other banks for working closely with the Government to improve banking services to all Kenyans.
The President congratulated KCB for launching their Diaspora Banking Product during the Conference adding that the “Diaspora Banking Product launched by KCB will enable the bank to tap into the Diaspora market and facilitate East African nationals to invest back home and support regional economic growth.”