Thursday, June 28, 2012

Diaspora aspirants hold strategic meeting in USA

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey USA
A caucus for Diaspora political aspirants from different parts of the USA in the coming general elections was held in June 24th in the State of Delaware. The meeting whose theme is Kenya for all discussed a wide range of issues on the status of our nation, which culminated to several resolutions.
The aspiring candidates met amid controversy surrounding the voting rights of Kenyan diasporians in the coming elections and the mutilation of the new constitution by sitting MPs.
The meeting resolved to form a forum dubbed “Kenya for all” which will address several issues among them the voting rights of Kenyans living abroad, organize political debates for all candidates running for office in Kenya and abroad and sensitize voters to elect value driven leaders as the only benchmark to transform the nation.
The aspirants who will vie for different positions plans for a Kenyan home-coming and also hold joint campaigns to showcase the agenda they have for their constituents electorates.
They singled out certain Presidential candidates whose support for Kenyans living abroad is lackluster. The meeting challenged honourables Uhuru Kenyatta, Musalia Mudavadi, William Ruto for being averse on matters affecting Diasporians but lauded Prime Minister Raila Odinga, honourables Martha Karua and Peter Kenneth for being the only presidential candidates who passionately support Diasporians especially on voting rights as stipulated in the current constitution.
Parliamentary aspirants who attended the meeting included, Jimmy Onkangi, Kitutu South, Joseph Lister Nyaringo, Bobasi, Denzel Musumba, Teso South and Shem Ogamba, Kitutu North constituencies.
Three gubernatorial candidates, George Munyotha, Dr. Barrack Abonyo, Dr. Matunda Nyanchama who are gubernatorial candidates for Kiambu, Kisumu and Nyamira counties respectively, attended the meeting and a senatorial candidate for Nyamira County Mr. Sam Abuga Mweberi. Several other candidates from USA and Canada sent their apologies.
They promised to hit the ground and educate Kenyans on how to identify the right presidential candidate before casting their votes; stressing that and the same candidate must be a reformer, believer in social justice and one who is consistent and incorruptible.
“Presidential candidates should not take Kenyan Diasporians for granted. We cannot support an individual merely because of talking tough or giving hefty promises but, consider their credentials, track records especially on building democratic tenets, respect to the rule of law, and advocating for marginalized groups- the poor, women, children, youth and students.” Said Joseph Nyaringo, one of the organizers of the caucus.
“We have put a microscope on all Presidential candidates and those with dubious records, purveyors of negative ethnicity and impunity will not be tolerated in the current Kenya, “said Sam Mweberi.
The meeting reiterated the importance of the coming election, which has a great promise for Kenya, especially the provisions in the current constitution which among other things gives Kenyans living abroad the opportunity to cast their votes.
However, it was pointed out during the Delaware meeting that the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) hasn’t laid down modalities to ensure that Kenyans scattered in the whole of North America are provided with the opportunity to cast their votes.
It was also pointed out that the electoral body has failed to be specific on why it cannot provide proper logistics to ensure that specific areas in the USA, with a higher presence of Kenyans are utilized as voting centres in order to attract a higher voter turnout.
The general elections slated in August according to the constitution are likely to be held in March 2013, and this clearly gives the IEBC humble time to put logistics in place and ensure that that majority of Kenyans in the Diaspora gets the opportunity to vote.
We have faith in the electoral body and we believe that it is going to be the most independent in our country’s history.
As the constitution stipulates, all Kenyans living abroad have a right to vote for all leaders across the board, from the county assembly persons, MPs, senators, governors and a President. No exceptions!
We cannot condone a scenario to vote for Presidential candidates only since it will undermine the spirit of democracy and reflect that it’s only the presidency, which is more important than any level of leadership in the country. All leadership hierarchies are important to build a prosperous country.
The meeting also challenged candidates spreading the negative notion that Diaspora candidates are detached from the day-to-day challenges facing Kenyans, to remember that, the current constitution that borrowed heavily from the USA model is likely to be actualized if many candidates who have been exposed with American institutions are voted in. They pointed out that the devolution of power or the legislative process is similar to that of America.
The candidates also warned Members of Parliament who have perfected the art of making amendments on the current constitution with the intent of perpetuating their selfish ends, to remember that voters are keenly watching them. Come the next elections, they will be replaced by leaders who will respect and uphold the constitution.
It’s sad indeed that a constitution virtually two years old and whose fruits are yet to be tasted by Kenyans is being mutilated for selfish ends.
It’s ironical that the American constitution which has been in existence for over two hundred years has undergone only less than eight amendments, yet the Country remains a global economic leader. Our MPs moves are not only evil, but also against the determination of our nation to be a model for upholding the rule of law for posterity and not individual gain.
For purposes of encouraging issue-based politics, the aspirants will organize the first Diaspora debate, which will be held in August in Dallas Texas. It will bring together all aspiring leaders currently living in North America and will also invite Presidential candidates from Kenya for participation.
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