News / USA

Diaspora Kenyans Unable to Participate in This Year's Election Feel a Bit Left Out

Kenya elections (Reuters)
Kenya elections (Reuters)
Mariama Diallo
Kenyans who live in the Washington, DC area say they feel a bit left out as they were not able to make their voices heard in their country’s presidential elections. This is the first election since the new constitution took effect in 2010.  

Student Chief Kinaro expresses his unhappiness in not being able to take part, saying "it was disappointing that the diaspora was not given a chance to vote except for those in closed proximity like Arusha, Sudan, and Uganda. But those of us in the larger diaspora the U.S., the U.K, Australia and the United Arab Emirates we are disappointed because we expected that we could be given the chance.”

But Atieno Oduor, a governance consultant, says she understands the process was complicated and is not faulting the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission for not having time to set up logistics for all Kenyans in the Diaspora. “I wouldn’t blame the IEBC because there were a lot of logistical challenges. There was a lot of pressure for them to actually prepare. These elections were very complex,” she adds.

As the results trickle in, we caught up with Chris Matai at Swahili Village – a restaurant and local Kenyan hangout. Matai says either of the two front runners will do just fine for him. “I'd like to see the country move forward economically, create jobs, be secure and all these other aspects. And I think either one of the candidates has a very good chance of doing it,” he expressed.

For Mwangi Chegue, a student at the School for Advanced and International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, improving on the progress made in the last decade is his number one priority. “Whoever wins should just be able to safeguard all the reforms and progress we've made. The other thing is just pushing forward our economic development. If we can continue on the path we've been in over the past 10 years, all the livelihood of the Kenyans will be improved," Chegue says.

Atieno Oduor says Kenya is deeply divided and that national cohesion should be on top of the next leader’s agenda. "Kenya is divided right now. There's deep seeded mistrust. That tends to play out politically. I hope that whoever is the president will communicate strongly verbally and also through their actions that he's a president for all Kenyans. Moving forward, the future of Kenya really depends on how the provisions in the new constitution are going to be implemented," Oduor cautions.

Accusations that results from Monday’s national vote are being tampered with continue but Kenya’s electoral commission chief is rejecting such allegations. Ahmed Issak Hassan says because of a rigorous verification process in place, “there is no room to doctor the results whatsoever.” His comments come as candidate Raila Odinga maintains his demand for the vote counting be stopped.

Meanwhile, judges at the International Criminal Court have decided to postpone leading candidate Uhuru Kenyatta’s trial to July 9th. The date was previously set for April 11th. For student Chief Kinaro, the ICC indictment only gave Kenyatta an extra push, saying “actually the ICC issue played to the advantage of Mr. Kenyatta. What Kenyans have done is to say, we don’t care about the ICC.”

Violence has been reported earlier in certain parts of Mombasa. And Chris Matai blames the foreign media for what he called a hunger for violence. "I have seen the desperation of the foreign media to try and jump at anything that resembles any type of violence. I would like for them to calm down their thirst for blood okay. The blood is not always a big story peace can also be a big story,” Matai says.

Margaret Kamba is a banker. She says she’s been praying for the best possible scenario. "Moving forward I expect to see more democracy and power to the people and progress in that country," she adds.

This week’s elections will determine Kenya’s next president as well as future senators and governors. Election officials have said turnout was more than 70 percent of the 14.3 million eligible voters. For the presidential candidates to win, a contender must receive a plurality of the vote (meaning 50 plus 1 percent) – or compete in the runoffs in April.
Listen to voices from the Kenyan diaspora on this week's elections
Listen to voices from the Kenyan diaspora on this weeks electionsi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid