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

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
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.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs