The global Kenyan community, known as the Kenyan diaspora, encounters a multitude of obstacles and shares apprehensions regarding their participation in national affairs. For a long time, crucial matters have been brought to light, encompassing challenges in engaging in elections and the need for more transparent governmental guidelines.
Election Participation Challenges
Kenyan citizens residing outside the country face obstacles when it comes to taking part in elections, particularly the inconvenience of travelling great distances to vote. One instance highlights the plight of a Kenyan Brussels resident who had to make the journey to Berlin to cast his vote, prompting concerns regarding the effectiveness of such arrangements. Suggestions are put forth to urge Consular services in key global cities to simplify procedures and ensure smoother accessibility for diaspora individuals.
Dissatisfaction with Kenyan Democracy
As Kenya celebrates its sixtieth year of Independence, there is an undeniable sense of discontentment regarding the current state of democracy in the country. Kenyans in the diaspora lament the narrow focus on election results, diverting attention from critical issues such as the cost of living. Additionally, there are sentiments of dissatisfaction towards the apparent absence of an effective opposition, heightening the demand for a reassessment of the political environment.
Diaspora Representation and Organization
A multitude of Kenyans abroad, totalling more than 3 million individuals, join together in different organizations and associations. Yet, there exists a pervasive worry that these groups may be infiltrated by political figures, which could potentially undermine their effectiveness. The importance of authentic representation and advocacy for the diaspora is emphasized as a critical factor in addressing their distinct challenges in their countries of residence.
Clarity in Government Policies
Recent ambiguity in government policies, such as the requirement to declare items worth over $500 when entering Kenya, raised concerns about communication efficacy. Kenyans in the diaspora stress the importance of clear and actionable communication to avoid confusion and panic among the diaspora. Clarity in policies is identified as an essential aspect of fostering trust and compliance.
Dual Citizenship and Investor Confidence
The delay in implementing dual citizenship has become a significant point of concern, impacting the confidence of investors. Diasporans voice worries about potential repercussions, such as land disputes, and call for swift action to address the long-standing issue. They identify dual citizenship as a crucial element in fostering a conducive environment for investment.
Critique of Migration Management Bill:
The discussion also delved into criticism of the Labour Migration Management Bill 2023. Concerns are raised about the potential taxation of diaspora remittances, a move viewed as counterproductive, especially in the current economic climate.
The challenges and concerns of Kenyans in the diaspora demand thoughtful attention from both the government and diaspora organizations. The call for improved representation, clearer communication, and swifter implementation of policies resonates as a collective plea for a more inclusive and supportive approach to the issues faced by this vital global community.