Following the extension of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) taskforce’s term, the Kenyan diaspora is set to table its proposals to the team.
The Diaspora National Assembly (DNA), in collaboration with Kenya Patriotic Movement (KEPAM), has come up a raft of recommendations that will be presented to the taskforce for possible adoption.
Among the proposals made by the two diaspora organizations is the barring of any Kenyan found guilty of corruption, abuse of power, or any other criminal offense from any elective or appointed position.
The two groups also want all appointed and elected officials charged with corruption to step aside without pay and privileges associated with their position, pending the hearing and determination of their cases and their bail set at 50 percent of the amount missing or stolen.
“Allowing people with questionable ethical values to hold any office in the country is perpetuating impunity and destroying the country,” says Dr. Isaac Kinungu Gitau, the President of DNA USA.
They also propose the creation of a Diaspora Constituency that will handle issues faced by Kenyans living abroad in Parliament. They also suggest a Ministry of Diaspora Affairs be created and headed by one of them, similar to that of Israel and India.
Kenyans in the diaspora further propose the removal of the clause in the 2010 Constitution that bars holders of dual citizenship from holding and running for public office in the level of a State officer. Joseph Lister Nyaringo, the President of KEPAM, terms the clause as discriminatory and a violation of their birthright.
Kenyans living and working abroad are also of the view that Kenyans are overrepresented in Parliament. “What is the logic in a nation of about 50 million people having 425 elected representatives in both chambers?” wondered Ms. Edith Kariuki, a Kenyan in the US.
To end cases of incompetence at the county level, the diaspora proposes that a bachelor’s degree from a recognized institution be the minimum requirement for all Cabinet Secretaries, MCAs and MPs. Additionally, they propose that a Prime Minister must be an elected Member of Parliament and not a nominated MP.
Dr. Frankline Onchiri of Seattle, Washington DC wants Kenyans abroad to be allowed to take part in general elections as stipulated by Section 38 (3) (a), of the constitution.
“Indeed, Kenyans have another chance to strengthen the diaspora voting rights through the BBI to ensure that, come 2022, Kenyans living abroad will get an opportunity to exercise their universal suffrage.”
Finally, the diaspora proposes that whilst members of Parliament and any other constitutional bodies may wish to increase their salaries and allowances, a clause should be introduced that says the next Parliament can only realize such increases. This will deter greed and selfishness, as is the case with the US Congress and State Assemblies.