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Diaspora Kenyans to enlist 1 million voters

He urged the government to put in more resources with the IEBC that will adequately facilitate the process of ensuring much more people in the Diaspora participate in the key vote. Photo/FILE.

He urged the government to put in more resources with the IEBC that will adequately facilitate the process of ensuring much more people in the Diaspora participate in the key vote. Photo/FILE.

NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 9 – The Kenya Diaspora Alliance (KDA) on Sunday announced that it is targeting one million Kenyans living abroad to register as voter in the 2017 elections.

KDA Global Chairperson Shem Ochuodho said the Alliance is in talks with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and other stakeholders on Diaspora voting and the areas of partnership and cooperation.

Ochuodho told a news conference that the Diaspora is a major national resource that has the right to participate in all affairs of the government.

He urged the government to put in more resources with the IEBC that will adequately facilitate the process of ensuring much more people in the Diaspora participate in the key vote.

“In our talks with IEBC, we have realized that they do not have enough funds to facilitate Kenyans living abroad to vote, we urge Treasury to set aside specific amount for this process as 2017 is not far away,” he told reporters.

He revealed that the association is already developing a Diaspora database on available human capital in knowledge, skills and innovations.

This comes after the Supreme Court directed the IEBC to effect progressive voter-registration for Kenyans living in the Diaspora and file annual reports for review by the National Assembly and the Senate, through the offices of the Speakers of the two Houses.

“The IEBC shall put in place an infrastructure for the comprehensive registration of Kenyan citizens in the Diaspora as voters, to the extent that the numbers of such Kenyan citizens participating in General Elections shall increase progressively over time,” the court directed.

The highest court in the land threw out an appeal by the IEBC against the decision made on June 6, last year, by Appellate Judges Roselyne Nambuye, Daniel Musinga and Kathurima M’Inoti, requiring the agency to set up more registration centres for Kenyans living abroad to be registered as voters for all elective positions.

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“The Court of Appeal’s directive to the IEBC, to ensure that registration of Diaspora-Kenyans as voters “in all elective positions” is effected progressively, in our view, did no more than express the principle of incremental progress towards a full-scale attainment of the right to vote, locally and in the Diaspora,” the Supreme Court Judges pointed out.

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