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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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Diaspora

E-passport centres launched in six countries to serve diaspora

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The government has launched e-passport centres in six countries to serve Kenyans in the diaspora.

Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma  said the service will initially be available in Kenyan embassies in Pretoria, London, Paris, Dubai, Washington and Beijing before being expanded to other countries.

“We mounted the e-passport infrastructure last week. Kenyans are encouraged to get in touch with the missions for modalities of this process,” she said on Friday.

The launch of the centres means that Kenyans living abroad will no longer have to travel back home to apply.

Presidential directive

Run by the Immigration department, portals will be available on each Kenyan mission’s website, directing applicants on the procedure to follow.

Kenyans in diaspora had complained of lack of service despite a directive by President Kenyatta that the passports be issued in their countries of residence.

The foreign ministry said the Immigration department had been setting up the tools required for deployment of personnel.

Initially, embassies had required Kenyans to register their presence on the portals to help provide the numbers and influence decision on setting up centres.

Immigration service

The Immigration department had said it would start with North America, the Middle East and South Africa before moving to other regions.

READ ALSO:   Kenyan Businessman jailed in US for 10 years

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs manages diplomatic missions abroad but issuance of passports is a responsibility of the Immigration department. This means the department will have to send attaches to the embassies to provide the services.

While in Namibia in March, President Kenyatta directed that Kenyans living abroad be issued with the new generation passports in their countries of residence.

source:Daily Nation

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Diaspora

Kenyan MP wanted by US authorities for escaping jail term over tax evasion

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A Member of Parliament who is serving his first term is a wanted man in the US.

Nation has established that Fafi MP Abdikarim Osman Mohamed is on the radar of US authorities over a crime he was sentenced for in 2015.

US media reported that in 2015, the lawmaker was sentenced to 18 months in jail over tax evasion.

He had been charged with 32 counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns totaling Ksh61 million.

According to reports, the Criminal Investigation Unit of the US Internal Revenue Service, conducted three undercover operations to catch the MP red-handed.

Planted spies posed as clients who wanted to consult Mohamed and have him prepare their Federal Income Tax Returns for 2007.

He prepared the documents but for each of the spies he was consulting for, he falsely reduced the tax due, resulting in fraudulent tax returns.

After he was arrested, Mohammed entered into a plea bargain with the prosecutors and implicated his accomplice, Yahya Sheikh, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Nation also established that due to fear being arrested, the MP turned down an opportunity to travel to the US with the National Assembly Energy Committee in April 2019.

READ ALSO:   Kenyan woman Nancy Waithera Givens dies in US

The daily’s efforts at reaching the legislator were futile as he was said to be in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland attending some national celebrations.

Fafi MP Abdikarim Osman Mohamed speaking during a forum in Garissa County on 09/02/19

SOURCE-Kenyans.co.ke

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Diaspora

VIDEO: Amb Githae cautions Kenyans in US against DUI, Domestic violence

The Kenyan ambassador to the United States, Robinson Njeru Githae, has cautioned Kenyans living in the United States against breaking the laws of the host country.

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BY BMJ MURIITHI

Mr Githae singled out Driving Under the influence (DUI) which he said was common among Kenyans in some US cities.

“Refrain from drunk driving….Hapa mkono wa sheria ukikupata umekupata (the arm of the law here is very effective),” he said recently when he addressed attendees of this year’s Atlanta Majuu Cultural festival held in Atlanta, Georgia.

He also warned against domestic violence noting that such acts are taken very seriously by law enforcers in the US.

“Whatever you do, don’t break the laws of your host country. Ni vizuri kuacha tabia zingine (let us discard some of these habits)” he added.

In recent years, cases of Kenyans who have been arrested for DUI which have sometimes led to the discovery of other previous crimes and misdemeanors have been on the rise, at a time when the the US Immigration and Customs and Enforcement (ICE) agency has stepped up its enforcement and eventual deportations.

For drivers 21 years or older in most US States, driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher is illegal. For drivers under 21 years old, the legal limit is lower, with state limits ranging from 0.00 to 0.02.

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Lower BAC limits apply when operating boats, airplanes, or commercial vehicles. Among other names, the criminal offense of drunk driving may be called DUI, driving while intoxicated or impaired (DWI), operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol (OVI), or operating while impaired (OWI).

The penalties for drunk driving vary among states and jurisdictions. It is not uncommon for the penalties to be different from county to county within any given state depending on the practices of the individual jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions require jail time and larger fines, even on a first offense.

For instance, Ohio requires a mandatory 72-hour jail sentence for a first offense conviction; however, the jail time component is satisfied by attendance of the Ohio A.W.A.R.E. Program, which is a 72-hour alcohol-education program.

For the most part, DUI or DWI are synonymous terms that represent the criminal offense of operating (or in some jurisdictions merely being in physical control of) a motor vehicle while being under the influence of alcohol or drugs or a combination of both.

There have also been instances where spouses have engaged in domestic violence with most of them ending up in jail or even facing deportation.

Githae commended the organisers of the festival, led by Rev Dr GG Gitahi of Kenyan American Community Church.

READ ALSO:   Kenyan Businessman jailed in US for 10 years

Thousands of people, including renowned Kenyan gospel artistes, graced the annual event which – for the first time in the five years it has been running -was held at the Cobb County Civic Center in the heart of Marietta, Georgia.

The envoy, who has since been named as the new ambassador to Austria, promised to help make the event bigger and better.

“This is very impressive and we should not stop here. We are going to make sure that other communities in the US participate next year,” he said.

[The video will post here as soon as the processing is done. Check back soon]

In the meantime, enjoy the photos courtesy of David King’ang’i of DKK Photography:

PHOTOS COURTESY OF DKK PHOTOGRAPHY

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