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Kenyans in diaspora restless over ‘disenfranchisement’ in voter listing exercise

A Kenyan is registered as a voter using the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) Kit/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 5- The Kenya Diaspora Alliance (KDA) has warned that they may seek legal recourse if the new team at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) fails to effectively implement the Supreme Court order on the progressive inclusion of their community in elections, starting with the upcoming August poll.

The Alliance, in a statement issued by their Chairperson Dr. Shem Ochuodho, thereby called for a meeting between themselves and the IEBC, “outstanding issues prior to the commencement of the registration to resolve the current deadlock.”

Among the issues the group wants addressed is the requirement for Kenyans the diaspora to register using a passport –as affects those living within the East African Community — which according to Ochuodho is, “unconstitutional and a violation of human rights.”

“Even in other parts of the world, there are Kenyans who no longer use Kenyan passports, but maintain Kenyan national IDs.”

“Additionally, the allocation of registration centers including the staff to be utilised remains a major concern to the diaspora. Indeed, the proposed inclusion in the 2017 elections of Southern Africa only to the previous EAC countries fall far short of the expectations of the progressive requirement in comparison to 2013 elections,” he pointed out.

They also insist that there should be at least two registration centres per region of the world.

“No tangible results have been achieved by the IEBC even following consultations with the Diaspora where there has been various promises from IEBC which have not borne fruit,” the KDA chairperson lamented.

He has made clear that they will resist, “through all lawful means, attempts to disenfranchise the Diaspora in the 2017 elections. We remain open to dialogue and will collaborate with the IEBC and all other concerned state and non-state agencies for the full realisation of Diaspora voting rights in 2017.”

The registration of voters within the diaspora was set to kick off on February 1.

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