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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 Comment

  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

How Nairobi dust and old car tested Michele Obama’s love for her husband

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This year, First lady Michelle Obama was enjoying Beyonce and Jay Z’ performance in France while her husband Barack Obama visited his home and family in Kenya, Bondo.

The former American First lady Michelle Obama has now opened up on a possible reason why she did not accompany her husband Barrack Obama during his two recent visits to Kenya saying that her first visit in the country was just more than frustrating.

In her memoir titled “Becoming”, Michelle shared that on her first trip to Kenya in 1992 was full of misfortunes and even wore the wrong shoes. Obama’s sister, Auma, also had an old car that left her frustrated.

“Auma’s sky-blue VW was so old that it often needed to be pushed in order to get the engine into gear. I’d ill-advisedly bought new white sneakers to wear on the trip, and within a day, after all the pushing we did, they’d turned reddish brown, stained with the cinnamon-hued dust of Nairobi,” she shared. 

The 54-year-old who was born the US in 1964 added that the trip was also tiring and although she witnessed some beautiful scenaries, she was really frustrated.

“For every bit of awe we felt in Kenya, we were also tired, which led to quibbling, which led finally, for whatever reason, to rage. “I’m so angry at Barack,” I wrote in my journal. “I don’t think we have anything in common.” My thoughts trailed off there. As a measure of my frustration, I drew a long emphatic gash across the rest of the page,” the memoir went on.” she said. 

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Africa

Kenyans in US get discounts on fare, three luggage on KQ direct flight

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Kenya Airways has turned to the more than 100,000 Kenyans living in the US with generous discounts in a bid to shore up passenger numbers three weeks since it launched direct flights to New York.

National carrier, which has been grappling with low passenger numbers, says Kenyans who book tickets directly will enjoy a 10 per cent discount on fares and three of their luggage.

“The special rate for the Kenyan diaspora is only available for bookings made directly on our website,” Stephen Ngamau, KQ’s area manager for the Americas, says in a notice on display at the Kenyan Embassy in Washington DC.

“We encourage guests to enrol onto our database for more updates and offers… We look forward to having the Kenyan diaspora aboard Kenya Airways soon.” The fares on the New York route range between Sh79,000 and Sh105,000 depending on the booking period.

Kenya estimates the number of its citizens studying or working in the US at 130,000 even though other sources claim the figure could be as high as 300,000. The group has been very active in the country’s economic affairs with the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data showing that North America accounted for 50.8 per cent of the Sh197.1 billion that citizens living abroad sent home last year.

READ ALSO:   Shock as Kenyan couple found dead in US, murder suicide suspected

The trend has continued this year with CBK data showing that Kenyans living in North America sent home Sh72.1 billion in the first six months of this year, representing a 69.3 per cent growth over the Sh42.5 billion received in a similar period last year.

Kenya launched its daily non-stop flights to the US on October 28 in what government officials said would stimulate tourism, trade and investments from the world’s largest economy.

The national carrier is cutting back on flights citing low demand. It has rescheduled flights covering November to March and cancelled 10 flights between last Monday and December 5.

Business Daily

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Africa

Uganda deploys military, police to guard Chinese investors

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The Ugandan government has deployed military and police officers to guard Chinese investors after the latter threatened to leave the country following a wave of attacks.

Mr You Jing Shu, the chairperson of Guangdong Chamber of Commerce, a lobby of about 50 Chinese companies in Uganda, said last week that many investors were considering leaving unless the government beefed up security.

“I may personally be resilient to this kind of insecurity because I lived in South Sudan, which is more hostile than here. But other investors who are faint-hearted can leave,” Mr Shu said in an interview with Daily Monitor.

ATTACKS

On October 23, a group of unknown assailants raided the residential quarters of CCLE Rubber Company in Mbalala in central Mukono District injuring five people — three Chinese nationals and two Ugandans. The attackers are said to have made away with $11,000 in cash, mobile phones, and electronic appliances whose worth was unspecified.

Mr Chen Fan, the director of the company, told Daily Monitor that machete-wielding gang beat up the security guard, injuring him, and took away his gun which they later abandoned.

“This is scaring us. I feel I should leave the country because this is not the first company to be attacked. It is very bad,” Mr Fan said.

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Uganda police spokesman, Mr Emilian Kayima, said investigations on the attack and other similar ones are underway.

“We are taking this matter seriously. As I speak, I am in the field in Luweero (district that neighbours Mukono to the southeast) investigating a similar matter and very soon we shall come up with a solution,” Mr Kayima said.

MEETING

Last week, a delegation of Chinese investors met with top government officials over the rising wave of armed and violent robberies that have resulted in loss of life and property.

The closed-door crisis meeting was attended by the minister of Internal Affairs Gen Jeje Odongo, Security minister Gen Elly Tumwine, the Inspector General of Police Okoth Ochola, the director-general of Internal Security Organisation (domestic spy agency) Col Kaka Bagyenda, and Mr Ronald Kibuule, the Mukono North MP.

The government assured the Chinese that they would be provided with armed guards.

Mr Kibuule told Daily Monitor that the meeting had been ordered by President Yoweri Museveni after the MP informed him of the attacks in his constituency.

Daily Monitor

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