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Thousands of Kenyans in the Diaspora stripped of voting rights

11/28/2012, 11:31 a.m.
Thousands of Kenyans in the Diaspora stripped of voting rights

Nov. 27 (GIN) - On the heels of Pres. Barack Obama's struggle to defend the voting rights of U.S. citizens, Kenyan officials announced this week that the hundreds of thousands of Kenyans in the U.S., the U.K. and elsewhere outside the country would not be allowed to vote.

National elections are scheduled to take place in March 2013 for President, Senators, County Governors, Members of Parliament, among others.

In the nine months ending September 2012, Kenyans working abroad sent nearly one billion in U.S. dollars (74.4 Kenyan Shillings) to help their relatives at home, and invest in real estate projects among other investments. Kenyans living abroad have also started investing in government securities targeted at them, such as infrastructure bonds and the savings bonds.

The largest percentage of remittances comes from the US.

"I will be the bearer of bad news," said Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa. "It is impossible for those outside Kenya to vote in 2013 elections owing to challenges facing the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission." Preparation in underway to allow Kenyans in the diaspora to vote in 2017," he said.

Over 100 stinging comments followed a story on the topic in the online Daily Nation newspaper. "HabariMan" wrote: "It is a shame that an undeveloped nation like Southern Sudan with its

citizens spread out all over the world can pull an election off and yet Kenya, that boasts to be the regional leader, cannot pull one off.

Gideon O. Okwanyo added: Can't they use a part of our remittances to solve the Financial constraint that they are talking about. Logistics?? What are the embassies for?

Wanja Njuguna chimed in: To be honest, this has been the worst and greediest Cabinet Kenya has ever had. I cannot wait for them to exit and hope that the next one will be a mwananchi and remember they are servants not, the bosses. Guys ensure you vote out most of these non-performing fellas.