In today's online edition of the Standard we have a chilling article that discusses the increasing likelihood that Kenyans in the Diaspora may be unable to vote in 2012 elections!. The writer, Chris Wamalwa is himself a member of the Kenya Diaspora and the chilling message he brings to us affcts him as well.
According to the Standard article, thousands of Kenyans living abroad may be locked out of the 2012 general elections due to the slow implementation of provisions dealing with dual citizenship. Quoting Washing DC-based Immigration lawyer, Regina Njogu, it is possible that the Task Force on Dual Citizenship and related Provisions may fail to fast track dual citizenship acquisition thereby denying at least 1.5 million Kenyans their right to vote in 2012.
Kenyans who lost their citizenship after they acquired the citizenship of other countries will be the most affected. "Under the new Constitution, such Kenyans can only regain their Kenyan citizenship by applying. Section 14(5) of the constitution and Part III article 10 in the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act of 2011 require that Kenyans who lost their citizenship must apply to regain it and become dual citizens"
The key issue here is whether the processing and enacting of the Dual Citizenship Act is what will ultimately create the ground for the disenfrachisement of a large section of our population. We are talking about large numbers that are sufficient to tilt the scales in favour of meritocracy and integrity against mediocrity and shady characters. It is possible that some elected leaders will be uncomfortable with the influx of a large pool of voters who are a lot harder to control by use of petty handouts or promises around election time.
Consequently, we urge all Diasporans to start early and make every attempt to acquire or apply for the necessary papers in order to avoid being time-barred.