Politics and policy

Kenyans in diaspora locked out of March poll

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By EDWIN MUTAI

Posted  Tuesday, November 27   2012 at  18:57

In Summary

  • The government decided that it will be impossible for Kenyans living abroad to vote owing to challenges facing the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
  • Time and logistical constraints will not allow IEBC to register Kenyans in the diaspora.
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Kenyans in the diaspora will not vote in the March 4 General Election, the Cabinet decided last Thursday.

Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Eugene Wamalwa said the government decided that it will be impossible for Kenyans living abroad to vote owing to challenges facing the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

Mr Wamalwa said time and logistical constraints will not allow IEBC to register Kenyans in the diaspora.

“I will be the bearer unfortunately of bad news this afternoon. It is impossible for those outside Kenya to vote in 2013 elections. The government decided that IEBC be given enough time to make preparation for Kenyans in the diaspora to vote in 2017,” he said.

Kenya will have to conduct a census first to establish the exact number of Kenyans in the diaspora. An estimated three million Kenyans live abroad, but government figures show only 130,000 registered Kenyans.

“The challenge is that many of those who leave the country do not register with 52 embassies and high commissions where they are,” the minister said.