Diaspora Outraged For Being Excluded in Voter Registration, Despite Supreme Court Order
We the undersigned as Kenyans in the Diaspora have learnt with disappointment the scheduled commencement of voter registration on February 15, 2016 by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission—IEBC, which has apparently ignored a Supreme Court Order directing that the Kenyan Diaspora voters be included in the 2017 elections.
In the order read out by the Chief Justice/President of the Supreme Court, Dr. Willy Mutunga in May last year, the Commission was directed to commence immediate plans that will culminate in facilitating Kenyan Diasporians to participate in the 2017 general elections. The Commission was required to file returns to Parliament indicating the progress made so far. Curiously, since the court order was issued, IEBC has not initiated any concrete preparations towards achieving the intended goal.
Either by lethargy, impunity, or a combination of both, the IEBC has continued to operate in a manner oblivious of this order. Nothing on the ground suggests that IEBC is committed to facilitate Diaspora voting. In their budget requests for the voter registration exercise, which in our view far exceeds the cost for such a simple exercise, IEBC has deliberately locked out the Diaspora constituency. The condescending attitude suggests the Commission does not respect the Constitution and rule of law.
Kenyans in the Diaspora will not this time round accept to be left out of the 2017 general elections on flimsy grounds similar to those employed by the IEBC before. We are determined to do everything lawful within our power to protect our constitutional rights as citizens of Kenya to compel IEBC to create modalities enabling our participation in the 2017 elections.
We want Kenyans to know that the conduct of IEBC has continued to elicit disturbing trends, and we wonder whether this should be the correct Commission to be allowed to superintend credible elections in the already ethnically polarized and toxic country. There exists inherent public perception—and justifiably so—that the Commission is gate-keeping for partisan political interests, that fear the participation of the Diaspora in the electoral process in Kenya might upstage their predetermined political arithmetic!
We urge Kenyans of goodwill to rally behind the Diaspora’s legitimate demands to participate in the next elections right from the President to the MCA as adjudged by the Supreme Court. IEBC’s mischief of 2013 where they purported to facilitate East African based Kenyan Diasporans but ended up frustrating many will not be tolerated this time round.
Should IEBC continue to display their defiant attitude and proceed to purport to register voters, in total exclusion of the Diaspora, we shall institute contempt proceedings in court, besides seeking to stop the voter registration exercise until Diaspora too are provided for.
Henry Ongeri (Minneapolis, USA) Peter R. Makori (Kansas City, USA)
KDA’s Diaspora Voting Legal Committee
For and on behalf of KDA