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Kenyan lawyers in US push for Diaspora vote

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A group of Kenyan lawyers based in the United States is mobilising their compatriots in North America and Europe to agitate for the implementation of voting rights for  Kenyans in Diaspora.

The lawyers have accused the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission of abrogating fundamental provisions of the Constitution and the bill  of rights that guarantees the rights for all Kenyans to participate in their country’s electoral and governance processes. 

The lawyers coalescing under the clarion call “Kenyans in the Diaspora Must Vote” (KDMV) movement have promised to collect a million signatures from all Kenyans of goodwill to petition the government to pay close attention on their right to vote.

Minnesota-based advocates Henry Ongeri and Peter Omari are leading the movement. They have also contracted lawyers based in Nairobi to assist in pursuing contempt of court charges to be filed against IEBC for disobeying an order from the Supreme Court six years ago, requiring them to come up with the road map for Diaspora voting. 

When President Uhuru Kenyatta visited the US in August, the implementation of the constitutional clause on Diaspora voting was a big elephant in the room that led major concern.

Kenyans in the US tried in vain to meet Uhuru over the matter. They accused ambassador Robinson Githae of frustrating their efforts. 

Observers believe the president’s failure to create room and meet with members of the Kenyan community living in America, was a calculated move intended to avoid embarrassing questions on why his government has not demonstrated the desire to operationalise the constitutional provisions that allow Kenyans abroad to vote.

Ongeri said IEBC faces imminent and inevitable contempt of court charges to be filed soon.

“The fact that IEBC was served with an order to commence the process of facilitating Kenyans living overseas, and not those living in East Africa alone, but ignored the Supreme Court order, demonstrates a sort of conspiracy to lock out one of the most important demographics considered key players in stabilising Kenya’s economy through their foreign exchange contributions,” he said.

People Daily

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  1. Dottie

    September 21, 2018 at 10:06 am

    True, but the push to have Kenyans vote in 2022 involves many more patriots, not just attorneys. Of particular note are the KDMV leaders Treasurer Rosemary Musumba (New York), Vice Chair Richard Ooga (Minnesota), Organizing Secretary Elijah Magutu (Texas), Secretary Peter Makori (Missouri), Members Charles Michira, Jeremiah Ongeri, Doris Adera. We are also grateful to the contributions of Attorney Donald Deya of the Legal/Public Affairs Committee and Huldah Momanyi of California. Last but not least are the very many Kenyans and friends of Kenya who have identified with the cause and continue to support it.

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Africa

American who survived 9/11 dies in Riverside attack

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An American who survived the 9/11 terror attack is among those who were killed in Tuesday’s terror attack at Nairobi’s 14 Riverside Drive.

Jason Spindler’s mother Sarah Sandler told NBC News that her son “was trying to make positive change in the third world in emerging markets.”

Jason’s brother, Jonathan, also confirmed the family’s tragic loss via Facebook.

“It is with a heavy heart that I have to report that my brother, Jason Spindler passed away this morning during a terror attack in Nairobi, Kenya. Jason was a survivor of 9-11 and a fighter. I am sure he gave them hell!” Jonathan’s post read.

HAVING LUNCH

The US State department confirmed that an American citizen was killed in the Tuesday attack.

Spindler, who was the CEO and Global Managing Director of I-DEV International, was, according to colleagues, having lunch at the Dusit Hotel when the attack happened.

I-DEV is based at Metta, a space for entrepreneurs that is located at the 14 Riverside office complex in the Belgravia building’s sixth floor.

The Metta Africa Head of Community, memberships and operations Essie Mwikali said there were 45 people at the space when the attack happened and accounted for everyone and confirmed the death of Spindler.

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Nailab CEO Sam Gichuru eulogized Spindler as “a strong supporter of the Kenyan Tech Ecosystem.”

By Agencies

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Diaspora

REVEALED: How mysterious man walked into US Nairobi Embassy and warned of Al-Qaeda attack

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Kenya’s worst terrorist attack could have been averted and the aftermath handled better, a former US ambassador to the county has revealed in a new book.

According to Ms Prudence Bushnell, as early as November 1997, the US embassy in Nairobi had been warned about an impending truck bomb attack.

“A man walked into the Nairobi embassy with information about a possible attack,” says Ms Bushnell, who served as US ambassador from 1996 to 1998.

“The information was sent to Washington, shopped around to other intelligence services, and declared faulty. The guy was a flake, I was told,” Ms Bushnell writes in her book, Terrorism, Betrayal and Resilience: My story of the 1998 US Embassy Bombings.

When the man visited the embassy, Ms Bushnell was attending a conference in Washington.

‘NAGGING ABOUT SECURITY’

“During my Washington consultations, I was lectured by the African Bureau executive director that senior people in management and administration were getting irritated by my ‘nagging’ about embassy security and vulnerability.”

That meant the Washington administration under President Bill Clinton was treating her as the problem.

“I was advised to stop sending cables regarding security concerns,” she says in the book published in the US last year by Potomac Books.

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In her 17 years as a diplomat, Ms Bushnell was always asked to fill in a section on the needs of her station. But in 1997, for the first time, she was denied that opportunity. Instead, she was accused of “overloading the diplomatic circuits”.

This was a polite way of telling her to stop “making noise” about security vulnerabilities at the Nairobi embassy. But this did not stop her.

“I decided to write a personal note to Secretary of State [Madeleine] Albright,” she says.

When she gave the letter to a senior government official to hand-deliver to Ms Albright, the official said Addis Ababa and Pretoria also faced security threats and told her not to become “obsessed” with such threats.

WITHSTAND BLAST

Meanwhile, officials in Washington reminded her that the building was sound enough to withstand a blast, and that the only violence they could expect in Nairobi was political. This thinking was not difficult to understand.

Kenya had held a general election and the opposition had contested President Daniel arap Moi ‘s victory in the presidential poll. So Washington was monitoring Nairobi for political violence, not a terrorist attack. The heated exchanges were followed by a brief lull.

Then, on the morning of August 7, 1998, the US embassy on Haile Selassie Avenue, Nairobi was bombed. More than 200 people were killed and over 5,000 injured.

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“An explosion from the street below drew us to the window,” Ms Bushnell writes. “I was the last to get up, and I had moved only a few feet from the couch I was sharing with Commerce Minister Joseph Kamotho when a loud wave of freight-train force hurled me back across the room. Everything dimmed.”

Even after the attack, Ms Bushnell faced other political and diplomatic hurdles. For starters, President Daniel Moi was not keen on working with her. According to her, he was unhappy that the US had picked her to succeed yet another woman, Ms Aurelia Brazeal.

This strained relationship was complicated by the fact that Washington did not believe that anything meaningful could be achieved with President Moi at the helm.

FIGHTING CORRUPTION

Worse still, when she arrived in Kenya in 1996, Ms Bushnell had made fighting corruption and ensuring free elections would define her leadership agenda.

As a result, President Moi took three months before granting her a private audience.”It took longer to build a relationhip, she reveals.

After the 1998 terrorist attack, President Moi summoned all ambassadors and high commissioners to State House, Nairobi. Ms Bushnell was torn between attending the meeting and visiting injured embassy staff in various hospitals. She chose the latter and sent a representative to State House.

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Just days after the attack, Ms Albright made a whistle-stop tour of Nairobi. She did not appear overly concerned about what needed to be done, and, according to Ms Bushnell, made promises without any concrete offers, including for compensating the victims and survivors.

The only thing she appeared keen to know was where Ms Bushnell wanted to be posted.

“Guatemala,” Ms Bushnell said.

The following year, President Bill Clinton nominated her ambassador to Guatemala.

By Daily Nation

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Diaspora

Kenyan hit and killed by an 18-wheeler in US just days after returning from Kenya

US-based media KLTV reports that 42-year-old Allan Onucko was walking along Interstate 20 around 5:22am when a truck struck him.

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A Kenyan man, who had just returned to the United States after visiting his family in Kenya during the holiday season, died early on Friday morning after being knocked down by an 18-wheeler truck in Harrison County, Texas.

The man, identified as Allan Onucko, 42, was in Kenya for five days in December to spend time with his parents, siblings, relatives and friends.

US-based media KLTV reports that 42-year-old Allan Onucko was walking along Interstate 20 around 5:22am when a truck struck him.

The deceased was accompanied by his younger brother, Gilbert Otieno, a lawyer who runs a Nairobi-based law firm, George Gilbert Advocates.

He left the county for the US on December 19th accompanied by his brother Gilbert Otieno, an advocate who runs his own law firm George Gilbert Advocates in Nairobi.

KNOCKED DOWN

According to relatives and friends, the victim’s brother was visiting the US for the first time and was with him shortly before the accident happened.

Media reports in the US have quoted the police saying that dispatchers received a call from a person who said they believed they hit something.

Allan Onucko (left) with his brother Gilbert Otieno upon arrival in US last December. PHOTO | COURTESY
Allan Onucko (left) with his brother Gilbert Otieno upon arrival in US last December. PHOTO | COURTESY

About 15 minutes later, dispatchers received another call from another person saying they’d hit something.

Relatives said that Onucko, who was with his brother in the car, ran out of fuel on the interstate, and decided to walk to the gas station after calling for help but they could not immediately get diesel but only petrol.

READ ALSO:   African American woman relocates to Kenya, says she loves it

PERMANENT RESIDENT

He was knocked down 300 meters away and his brother only found out after waiting in vain and later calling 911.

According to a family source, the deceased moved to the USA in 2002 and has lived there for the last 16 years as a permanent resident.

He was running a tracking company and also doing car dealership.

Onucko was married and had a young daughter with his wife is expecting their second child in 4 weeks.

-Nairobinews

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