C.O.D.U. SECRETARY GENERAL- DR. CONSTANCE MUGALLA
CENTRAL ORGANIZATION FOR DIASPORA UNITY C.O.D.U
Dr. Constance Mugalla got her PhD from Pennsylvania State University and her MPH from Emory University. Her work experience has been in the areas of applied economics, health, IT and Public Health. She has volunteered with various Diaspora organizations and initiatives including community based organizations advocating for immigrant empowerment and health in Atlanta, Nashville and New York.
Talk of someone following her father’s footstep and you will be backbiting none other than Constance and just like her father, she has been keen on politics especially in Kenya. She grew up when the giant trade union COTU was an organization to reckon with and while being close to her father, the famous J.J. Mugalla, she was exposed early enough to the process of mobilizing and advocating for empowerment of communities through unity of purpose.
She is passionate about community empowerment, while advocating for the rights of the marginalized and familiar with the process of lobbying institutions. Her passion is to see Kenya take its place of leadership as a shining example in governing excellence in the region and on the continent.
In order for that to happen, she desire the process to start right from the Diaspora and eventually finding it’s way to Kenya and hence the appeal for a united Diaspora that will keep the Government constantly on its toes.
We have jewels in the Diaspora community and when such are identified, it’s only fair to utilize the rare chance and do what is possible.
Dr Constance and the chosen CODU administrators have confidence that if given the chance, they will make all in the Diaspora to believe in themselves, and to tie that belief to the highest ethical order, to do what may appear impossible to be just a small task.
In these rare moments, when such a united think tank group comes along, we need to put our differences aside and do what we know is possible. “Uniting all in the Diaspora” YES IT’S POSIBBLE THROUGH CODU
WE FAIL BECAUSE WE DO NOT TRY!
C.O.D.U. MISSION STATEMENT
Kenyans in the Diaspora are a heterogeneous group of people. We all come from different ethnic backgrounds, race and skin color. We are of different political persuasions, religions, beliefs, languages and ethnic backgrounds. Our educational backgrounds range from illiterate to people holding multiple PhDs and even our life experiences are different. We are made up of individuals from all walks of life and socioeconomic backgrounds. We even have Diasporans who are of different political persuasions in our countries of residence. In spite of all these differences, we are united by one common theme, our love for the country we love as Kenyans by birth, marriage or naturalization. In other words, we are not different in our makeup from other countries that are thriving elsewhere.
As diverse as we are, we are interconnected by the fate of Kenya as a country. We are a microcosm of people representing all these differences and different regions and counties of Kenya. In spite of our diversity, we want and seek to be unified as Kenyans and our desire is to speak with one Kenyan Diaspora voice.
Diversity can and has been exploited in the past to cause divisions, and we all know, where there is no unity of purpose and goals, nothing can be achieved and even the little that is working can be destroyed. The Bible in Amos 3:3 asks, can two walk together unless they agree? We must use our diversity as a tool that improves our outcomes. Let us first of all agree that we are different, have different abilities, skills, and backgrounds. But we have fundamental similarities in needs, interests and desire to have guarantees of a safe life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. We can all achieve these in the Diaspora first by improving rather than destroying or limiting each other. We can create trust across the various communities in the Diaspora in order to foster unity with the single purpose of improving ourselves and making Kenya an example of good governance.
Our contrasting cultures have over time yielded into what we all have come to know as Kenyan culture. This can be observed in the cultural festivals that are celebrated in harmony all over the country, the excitement with which we greet and cheer every Kenyan victory in Marathons, Olympics, Soccer, Rugby, Acting, Beauty, Academic exploits, etc. We cheer for them all irrespective of the ethnic group, religion, socio-economic status of the winners. We also mourn together when we experience a tragedy and rally together around those thus affected, irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds.
We have many examples when Kenyans overlooked their differences and united to achieve their goals. They fought for independence against the British and for multiparty system of Government. We also saw National Unity when we faced national disasters like the terrorist attacks on the US Embassy, Westgate Mall and De-Suit Center. We therefore have more that connects us than what makes us different.
While it is easy to fight our common enemies from outside (colonialism and international loan sharks, etc), we have been extremely inefficient in fighting the enemies within. Internal enemies such as the monstrous corruption, ethnic clashes leading to mass displacement, nepotism, tribalism, abuse of power, a failing or failed justice system, theft and embezzlement of national assets etc. We must be transparent in addressing these internal failings if we hope to crack this circle of corruption and have a justice system that has a backbone to prosecute all to the full extent of the law. We must uniformly call out issues and problems of politicians irrespective of whether we support them or not. Once crimes and justice are measured by the same yardstick for all, then we can be lest assured that Kenyans and even the international community will begin to trust and have confidence in our justice system.
The unity we are aspiring to achieve is unity of purpose, action and voice. Unity that enables us to speak with one voice on issues affecting us in the Diaspora as well as in Kenya. Unity that allows us to be our brothers keepers so that we do not just stand by and watch when bad things happen to any one of us, but must intervene when we can and celebrate when good things happen to others.
As Kenyans in the Diaspora, we realize our homeland is in danger of losing its place of leadership in the region and throughout the world. We want to create a Diaspora unity organization that will look beyond our differences and embrace our similarities to reach a consensus on issues affecting us in the Diaspora as well as our families back in Kenya. We believe we have valuable skills and adequate experiences that we can contribute to improve the governing and improve the prosperity of Kenyans when we demand and are given a voice and eventually a seat at the table of policy and decision making.
In CODU, we want to celebrate our diversity and use it as an asset to further the goals and vision of CODU, while striving to be as inclusive as is humanly possible to ensure a cohesive agenda that can be supported by all in the Diaspora. CODU wants to work on this cohesiveness first but also brainstorm and develop strategies that can be implemented to enable us to become an integral part of Kenya from wherever we reside.
We all acknowledge that corruption is the biggest blight on our nation. When citizens perceive that the leaders are corrupt and get away with crimes that should be punished, there is no incentive among the citizens to police ourselves or even act different. You all have heard the saying “The fish rots from the head” so we should demand that our leaders set the tone for conducting themselves with integrity whether in public or as private citizens.
We want to help set an environment where corruption is addressed from the top, by actively exposing and demanding actions for incidences of corruption, we want the government to engage in smart borrowing without mortgaging our country and jeopardizing our sovereignty. We want good working roads, schools, hospitals, information security and economic opportunities for all citizens. We want to see Kenya recapture its leadership position in the region, continent and even globally. We want Kenya to lead by example in transparency and efficiency in government at all levels, local and National. We want loopholes in the judicial system to be closed so that all are subject to the same law with the same penalties, irrespective of economic status, ethnicity or education levels. As for Huduma number forms have revealed that we will all be taxed whether our earnings are in Kenya or outside Kenya. We want to demand that we have a voice at the political table. Diaspora should not be the Kenyans who are taxed without representation. Even without taxation, we as a block contribute a big proportion of national economy and boost the economic vitality of Kenya through our financial contributions to our family members. As such, we want to demand a pathway and access to full participation in national elections by allowing voting for all Kenyans in the Diaspora. We want to be not just the voice of Kenyans in the Diaspora but also the voice of those who cannot speak for themselves back home.
We are our brothers’ keepers and therefore as a United Diaspora one of the goal is to also assist those that fall into calamities and value and respect lives of all CODU members. We would like to see CODU as a community that rallies alongside families of CODU members should there be need, and commit to rally community support for CODU members and their families should they experience a tragedy..
These are issues we foresee CODU seeking input from members to address as we continue to grow and morph into an organization that speaks for all Kenyans in the Diaspora.
We are therefore appealing to all to make this organization “the next big thing” so that we can start speaking with one voice.
The months of June, July and August year 2019 are CODU recruitment months. Therefore please gear up to realize our visionary goal of Diaspora Unity by passing the link to as many people as possible that are termed as Diaspora all over the World.
When we do not try, failure is 100% guaranteed, but when we try, we reduce the probability of failure and increase the certainty of success. A determined and a united team can attain the grandest heights many envy and that is exactly what CODU intend to do.
YES WE CAN DO IT, SO, LET’S GET GOING.
TONY KAMNAO-BOARD MEMBER
D.K. GITAU BOARD MEMBER
REV. WAMBUI NJOROGE BOARD MEMBER
ALICE MUNYUA-BOARD MEMBER
NANCY NJOROGE-BOARD MEMBER
ROSE SHIKO-BOARD MEMBER
KANYARI MUTHOGA -BOARD MEMBER
NELLY WIGGINS-BOARD MEMBER