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Diasporans engage in intense debate over Huduma Namba

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Intense debate has erupted among Kenyans living abroad over recent announcement by Interior Ministry Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiang’i that Kenyans in the diaspora have until June 20, 2019 to register for Huduma Namba.

In making the announcement, Dr Matiang’i disclosed that in fact, the registration exercise for Kenyans living abroad started at Kenyan consulates and embassies abroad on May 6, 2019.

“We began another phase of registration this week that addresses Kenyans in the diaspora. We have distributed a total of 154 Kiems kits in 54 missions around the world,” said Dr Matiang’i in a press conference last Monday.

He added : “ The deadline for those living in Kenya is May 18, and the government will not extend the deadline.”

But President Uhuru Kenyatta has since extended the deadline by a week after it emerged that a large number of Kenyans were yet to get registered at the lapse of yesterday’s deadline.

Kenyans living abroad ordinarily embrace such initiatives from the government and rush to be first on line believing it is beneficial to them in the long run. But this time around, things seem to be totally different. There are no reported long lines at the Kenyan embassy in Washington, DC or High Commission in London for instance since the exercise began a week ago.

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Intense debate

Rather, what is going on among the diaspora is an intense debate on social media and community groups on the merits and demerits of the Huduma Namba.

Most Kenyans in the US interviewed by the Sunday Nation agreed that the Huduma Namba is a great initiative if smoothly carried out in terms of registration as the government has said it will be a unique identifier of every person legally in Kenya and Kenyans in the diaspora.

However, most were also livid that just like the Social Security number in the US, the Huduma Namba will be an authenticator as it will have data on aspects of every one’s day to day life.

“The lack of privacy of the Huduma Namba will open it up to fraud especially if used to authenticate individuals,” said Dr Kennedy Simiyu, Research Director at the University of Maryland adding that Kenyans in the US are questioning the basis for having a deadline for the Huduma Namba.

“If the purpose of having services centred on one registration platform then individuals should apply for the Huduma Namba at will,” he said.

Mr Festus Kasyoka Mbuvi, a Kenyan resident of Boston, Massachusetts is leading a group of Kenyans abroad who are arguing that the whole aspect of Huduma Namba reeks of colonial mentality.

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By Chris Wamalwa, Sunday Nation

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Peter

    June 5, 2019 at 10:10 am

    While I support the idea of Huduma namba, I totally disagree with time limits to register. I live in the Diaspora but, can you imagine that every Kenyan living in for Minnesota, Texas, Georgia and many other States flying to Washington to register! I propose that the government should send their agents to Minnesota and Texas where we have a large population of Kenyan citizens with families. Without doing so, Huduma namba registration will be a total failure in the USA.

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GOFUNDME: Kindly help Jackie Koli bury her mom and get justice

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Jackie Koli’s mom, Beatrice Wanjiku Gitura (pictured above), was murdered in cold blood after she went missing on Friday, May 22, 2020.
On Saturday May 23rd, her body was found in her car a few Kilometers from Embu Town.  Her throat had been slit, hands tied with a rope and a piece of cloth tied across her mouth. It was double tragedy since the sister to her mom (Jackie’s auntie) passed on the same day- Friday morning after battling with cancer.Jackie, an only child, needs our financial support as she prepares to bury her mom and seek justice. Any help will be highly appreciated.

Kindly donate here via Gofundme

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VIDEO: Mom to Kenyan lady in US murdered in cold blood

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With great sadness we wish to inform you of the sudden and unexpected passing of Jackie Koli‘s mom, Beatrice Wanjiku Gitura.

She went missing on Friday May 22 and later found murdered in her car. Her throat had been slit, hands tied with a rope and a piece of cloth tied across her mouth.

The body was in the passenger’s seat and the car was abandoned on the roadside. Beatrice, 57, went missing on Friday after leaving work. Her body was found in Njukiri, Embu, about 20km from her residence.

The late Beatrice Wanjiku

It’s a double tragedy since the sister to her mom (Jackie’s auntie) passed on the same day- Friday morning after battling with cancer.
Jackie, an only child, needs our financial support as she prepares to bury her mom and seek justice. Any help will be highly appreciated.
Jackie Koli lives in Seattle, Washington State.

Kindly make your donation through either of these channels:

GoFundMe-Help Jackie bury her mom and seek justice

CashApp:

253-245-6057 – ($PriscillaMuiruri)
206-372-2899 – ($Jacklinekoli)
Zelle: 206-372-2899 – (Koli Ann)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Diaspora remittances decline by Sh2.2b in April

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Money coming in from Kenyans living and working abroad dropped by Sh2.2 billion in April to total $208.2 million (Sh22.3 billion).
This is compared to Sh24.5 billion received in March, according to the latest data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK). It was the lowest monthly remittance since February last year when Kenyans overseas sent back home $199 million (Sh21.2 billion at today’s exchange rate).
However, the cumulative inflows in the 12 months to April were higher at $2,801 million (Sh299 billion) compared to $2,750 million (Sh294 billion) over a similar period last year.
“Remittance flows from the US and Canada (contributing about 58 per cent of all remittances in April) remained largely unchanged from March, while inflows from UK, Germany, South Africa, EAC region, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia declined, reflecting the impact of Covid-19,” said CBK in its weekly bulletin.
CBK expects the Covid-19 pandemic which has disrupted economic activities around the world, to curtail the remittances, which have recently been critical pillars of the country’s exchange rate.
Foreign exchange
In March, diaspora remittances generally went up but inflows from South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Mauritius and Oman declined, reflecting the impact of the coronavirus disease on a critical source of foreign exchange for the country.
Nearly 40 million people in the US have filed for unemployment as Covid-19 wipes out livelihoods in the world’s largest economy, and where a lot of Kenyans live and work. So far, remittances from these regions have continued to flow in steadily. However, the tide of money from North America and Europe will not last forever as the pandemic hits these regions hard.
An article by CNBC showed that 70 per cent of companies in Dubai expect to go out of business in the next six months, a situation that would affect a lot of Kenyans working in the Gulf states.
Economists have noted that most Africans in the diaspora are employed in jobs that do not have safety nets, and are not eligible for the welfare cash that a lot of industrialised countries have provided for businesses and households in distress.
Currently, most of those abroad might have raised their remittances due to increased distress calls from relatives and friends back home who are feeling the heat of the pandemic.
Many Africans working overseas have either been laid off or sent on unpaid leave and are now living on their savings. Diaspora remittances have become Kenya’s key source of foreign exchange reserves, more than even tea, coffee and tourism.
In the region, the World Bank expects diaspora remittances to decline sharply.
Expected to drop
“In 2020, remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries are expected to drop by around 20 per cent to $445 billion (Sh47.6 trillion), from $554 billion (Sh59.2 trillion) in 2019,” said the global lender in a new report on remittances and migration.
“In the midst of this sharp decline, the relative importance of remittance flows as a source of external financing for low- and middle-income countries is expected to rise.” Nigeria remains the largest recipient of remittances in sub-Saharan Africa and is the sixth-largest beneficiary among low- to middle-income countries, with an estimated amount of $23.8 billion (Sh2.5 trillion) received in 2019, an increase of more than half a billion dollars compared to 2018.
Ghana and Kenya are ranked a distant second and third in the region, with $3.5 billion (Sh374 billion) and $2.8 billion (Sh299 billion) received, respectively.

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