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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid