As the September 18 date of the first Kenyan Diaspora Global Summit in New Jersey arrives, the organizers are beginning to reveal some of the main issues on the agenda. One of the game-changing discussions will be on what has been simply called “Devolving the Diaspora”.
What exactly is “Devolving the Diaspora”, and why is it so intriguing? Explains Tegi Obanda, a Co-chair of ICKDO: “Devolving the Diaspora means organizing the Diaspora as part of economic development in Kenya, by creating Diaspora County circles through which each County would have their Diaspora members talking to each other, and with their county government for development engagement.”
“Each county will have its Diaspora desk working with its Diaspora members through ICKDO. In the summit, people from the same county will have a chance to caucus and draw preliminary plans. We’re dedicating most of Sunday (Sept 20) to devolution” said Comfort Munoru Mwangi, the chair of the Diaspora Summit Planning Committee.
Kenya’s Devolution Utaguzi” Has Great Potential
As Kenya marks the 5th Anniversary of the Constitution of Kenya (CoK) which was promulgated
on August 27 2010, it is fitting that Kenya Diaspora Global Summit has identified Devolution or “Ugatuzi” and the Diaspora as a focal point and Special Sub-Theme. “Pursuant to Chapter 11 of CoK 2010 on Devolution, Kenya embarked on one of the most rapid and ambitious devolution processes going on in the world, with newgovernance challenges and opportunities.” Kagiri explains.
In fact many analysts, including no less than the Chairman of the Transition Authority, Mr. Kinuthia Wamwangi, have observed that Kenya’s devolution is of the “Big Bang” variety as opposed to other countries where it has been piecemeal. The Kenyan approach, on the other hand is extremely radical in terms of its depth, breadth, scope, speed and sheer magnitude in creating two new levels of government [one National and forty-seven Counties] and given political, financial and administrative autonomy, all at once!
“Kenya’s devolution is therefore a pacesetter in terms of the breathtaking speed and sheer audacity of its architects and implementers. As a result the counties have become the “Go-to” bastions of investment and socio-economic growth”, said Kagiri.
Devolving the Diaspora
The Kenyan Diaspora is a vast community that stretches over six continents, spans over 65 countries. It is an amalgam of all the 42 ethnic groups in Kenya and in fact based on a population over 3 million individuals the Kenyan Diaspora can be viewed as the “48th County” particularly when you consider that they remit figures approaching Kshs 15 billion a month or nearly 200 billion a year to their homeland!
This is close to the entire vertical revenue share for the entire 47 counties. Areas of the Diaspora to can participate in county socio-economic growth include Direct Diaspora Investment (DDI) through individual or pooled funds to invest in or support counties of their choice in infrastructural development, education, health, tourism and culture through cultural exchange programmes with the host countries.
Alternatively they can engage in knowledge flows individually, at the corporate level or through twinning of counties, cities, towns in their host counties with Kenya Counties in furtherance of “brain gain” initiatives for the homeland. In fact some counties such as Kirinyaga have already opened County Diaspora Desks for exactly this purpose.
Finally, the Diaspora can have a direct say in the development of counties through Public Participation in County development by developing Diaspora Citizen Forums to ensure that they are actively involved in the process of passing laws, budgets and overseeing the use of resources at both the national and county levels.
This is because CoK 2010 revolutionized the system of Governance in the country by expressly providing for public participation in governance processes at both national and county levels of
government. In fact the theme of Public Participation cuts across all Chapters of CoK thus making Publicparticipation central to Kenya’s ambitious devolution by ensuring that citizens
have a say in the manner in which they are governed.
Engagement with Government
This means engaging with the devolved structures such as the County Executive Arm and its Administration as well as the County Assembly Arm. “That in turn means working closely and having sustainable relationships with newly formed devolution and intergovernmental bodies such as the Summit, Council of Governors (CoG), the County Assemblies Forum (CAF), Chiefs of Staff Forum (COSF) and the more recently formed Society of Clerks at the Table (SOCATT)”, explained Dr Robert Kagiri, Programme officer at Kenya Transition Authority, who is also a key speaker at the summit.
The International Confederation of Kenyan Diaspora Organizations (ICKDO) shall be holding the 1ST Kenyan Diaspora Global Summit (1st KDGS 2015) on September 17-19, 2014 in New Jersey, USA. The theme of the summit is “Cultivating Partnerships for Sustainable Prosperity”. The International Confederation of Kenyan Diaspora Organizations [ICKDO] brings together Kenyan Diaspora organizations under one umbrella networking platform. Its Vision is to be the one focal point for Kenyan Diaspora engagement and empowerment worldwide. This will be achieved by facilitating a platform for networking, communication, strategizing, partnership and joint action by Kenyan Diaspora organizations, with the aim of contributing to socio-economic development in both host and home countries.
Sincerely yours, Comfort Munoru-Mwangi
Diaspora Summit Planning Committee
ICKDO will enable Diaspora County Teams to reach partners within the Diaspora and also internationally by providing the networking platform with potential investors in all areas of interest. This way, the County teams consisting of county members across the entire Diaspora, will be able to bring that change, that impact and that influence in their Counties that has not happened in a structured manner before. Devolving the Diaspora will bring the great feeling of purpose in terms of connecting for similar goals, presence of greater trust levels by knowing the Diaspora county leaders more intimately since they are from the same county and the drive to build and develop their county as a whole. How to structure this process will be discussed t the Devolution Roundtable in the Kenya Diaspora Summit, September 18-20, Newark, New Jersey.
MEANWHILE, YOU ARE INVITED TO RADIO DISCUSSION-DEVOLVING THE KENYAN DIASPORA FOR MAXIMUM ECONOMIC IMPACT- September 5th, 2 pm EST. (New York) 7pm GMT (London) Lead up to KDGS 2015
Organizing the Diaspora as part of economic development in Kenya by creating Diaspora County circles through which each County would have their Diaspora members talking to each other and with their county government for development engagement.
Kenya Diaspora Global Summit Calls for Panelists
Panelists are invited to lead the discussions in roundtables at the forthcoming Kenya Diaspora Global Summit -KDGS 2015, scheduled for September 18-20, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey USA.
To Register for Summit and Listen to Discussion on Devolution and Voting: Click http://ickdo.org/summit
To ask questions, call (602) 753-1549
1st Kenya Diaspora Global Summit (1ST KDGS 2015)
September 17-19, 2014
Doubletree Hotel by the Hilton
New Jersey, USA.
“Cultivating Partnerships for Sustainable Prosperity”
Special conference Sub-theme
Devolving the Diaspora!