Divisive Rhetoric Hurting the Cause for a Positive Kenyan Diaspora Agenda

Printer-friendly versionPDF version

I beg to differ with Isaac Kinity’s observations articulated in his article titled "No War in the Diaspora" which appeared on this space on April 24th, 2012. I am a strong proponent of cohesion within the Kenya Diaspora community, and more specifically among the Kenyan Diaspora in the US. It is from this perspective that I pen this opinion.

To elucidate,  according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there are about six hundred (600) Kenya Diaspora organizations in the US alone that are coalesced around  various private and public interests, some duplicative. These organizations include churches, NGOs, tribal groupings, and etcetera. Many will agree that there is no justification whatsoever for such proliferation.

In fact, failure by the Diaspora to speak in one voice has ended up hurting the Diaspora agenda instead of helping it. Our fragmentation is in deed counter intuitive. This is because if Diaspora Kenyans spoke with one voice, we stand a better chance of getting Diaspora concerns heard and taken into account.

The current proliferation of Diaspora organizations is untenable and cannot be justified as it only serves to ensure that the Diaspora agenda is not being pushed effectively. We have so many Kenya Diaspora organizations all claiming to represent the entire Kenyan Diaspora sending their own and mixed messages to the embassy and to Nairobi, that in fact, many in government do not know which group is which and which truly speaks for the Diaspora.

Some of these organizations have hyped themselves, organized conferences and invited government dignitaries to their conferences just for the dignitaries to get here and realize that the organizations are not truly representative. At this time when important decisions affecting the Diaspora are going to be made, such as on the issue of taxation of dual citizens, it is even more imperative that Diaspora Kenyans speak with one voice.

In a nutshell, this is what H.E. Ambassador Elkannah Odembo has been saying all along. So when Mr. Kinity complains that H.E. Ambassador Elkannah Odembo refuses to meet with some Kenyan groups that have sought audience with him, and then conveniently fails to disclose the real rationale behind the ambassador’s refusal, he comes across as disingenuous.

I have, like many others listened and understood the rationale behind his refusal and I am afraid that the ambassador is right on this one. First, if a group is a private interest group, he is not obligated to meet with its leaders.  If the ambassador was to take time to meet leaders of each Kenyan Diaspora private interest group in the US, and meets one group everyday, it would take him every working day of a year and a half to meet all of them.

And because these groups have varying interests and motives, he would also be trying to reconcile their interests to the larger Kenyan Diaspora interest. When the ambassador insists that he will not meet tribal groupings, he should be lauded and not vilified for it. I do not see anything disagreeable about discouraging tribal groupings. In deed, no Kenyan should entertain such groupings if we are to move forward in a genuinely cohesive fashion.

But like is typical of most of us we must read mischief into everything, and so we vilify our ambassador for calling for unity. The insinuation that ambassador Odembo frequents Tallahassee because he goes to visit a particular ethnic group is in bad taste and a flat out lie.  In fact, the ambassador has visited Boston more times than he has visited any other US City including Tallahassee. Mr. Kinity very conveniently omitted mentioning that fact so as to negatively portray the ambassador.

While Mr. Kinity makes a valid argument that immigration and settling patterns of Kenyans in the US, have through no one’s fault proceeded along tribal lines, it is still not an excuse to have a delegation to the embassy from one state comprised of 90 percent people from one ethnic group. In each state in the US, you will find people from at least no less than three Kenyan communities.

However small the presence of some communities in some states is, the composition of each delegation should reflect composition in proportion to the numbers of each community in the state, at the very least. In addition, any group seeking recognition should also be representative in terms of religion, gender and age. Unfortunately, the current constitution of a majority of Kenyan organizations in the US indicates that we in the Diaspora have miserably failed at cohesion.

In this regard, there is a rudimentary maxim of social foundations of law that stipulates that when people refuse to follow norms of acceptable social behavior, a function of the law is to force them to do so. While I do not recommend a measure as drastic as a law to force cohesion among Kenyans in the Diaspora, I believe that the government of Kenya through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Kenya embassies and consulates abroad should make it a government policy to work only with organizations that pass the test of being truly representative.

For any leader to deserve recognition as a Kenya Diaspora leader, he or she must be a true leader, with a verifiable track record of reaching out to other Kenyans in the Diaspora that are not members of his ethnic group, religion, gender, or age group. May be then, we in the Diaspora will be forced to clean up our act and work together.

Moreover, I take issue with any so called Diaspora organization that sidelines any segment of Kenyans in the Diaspora that it claims to represent. A case in point is the recent Kenyan Diaspora Development Network which recently held a conference in Boston MA. This group was formed because its founders disagreed with some aspects of the very successful Kenya Diaspora Conference of October 2011 spearheaded by the Kenya Embassy in Washington D.C.

The organization started off by sidelining and bashing the Kenya embassy and all those who had something to do with it, while at the same time trashing other Kenya Diaspora organizations such as the Kenya Diaspora Advisory Council of N.E region. In a last minute disingenuous and desperate move, its officials invited Kenya embassy officials and those who work with it just to fill in the chairs at its conference, after it realized that turn out at its conference was going to be low.

The reason why I, and perhaps many other US Diaspora Kenyans did not attend the KDDN conference is because there is a widespread belief among Kenyans that another Kenyan Diaspora organization is not the answer to Diaspora concerns. If Mr. Kinity, one of the key players in KDDN is genuine about pursuing a Diaspora agenda, he should like all other peace-loving and reasonable Kenyans spend his time contributing positively to shaping issues affecting the Kenyan Diaspora.

In this regard, Nairobi formulated a draft policy on the Diaspora touching on matters of great concern to the Kenyan Diaspora. What H.E. Ambassador Odembo did was to advocate so that Diaspora Kenyans get  to have a say in determining the contents of the policy. All Kenyans have been invited to read the draft policy at www.kenyaembassy.com and comment. This is a great chance for us in the Diaspora to make our voices heard because speaking through 600 mouthpieces will not do it!

Coming to the issue of whether or not there is war among Kenyans in the Diaspora and the need for the peace accord launched by H.E. Ambassador Odembo, Mr. Kinity’s thinking is too simplistic. He fails to acknowledge that peace does not only mean the absence of war.

Peace also means the state of living in friendship, harmony, tranquility and coexisting in a state or relationship of non-belligerence or concord. Against the backdrop of 2007/2008 PEV in Kenya, it is apparent that while for a long time it was thought that ethnic groups in Kenya were living peacefully with each other, there was underlying discord and disharmony.

This is the reason why when emotions were fanned by politicians, an all out war erupted among certain communities or against certain communities. All H.E. Odembo is asking is for Diaspora Kenyans to maintain harmony and refuse to be wrung into controversies that could lead to a repeat of 2007/2008 PEV. I fail to see anything reprehensible about what the ambassador is calling for.

As far as I can remember, Kenyan leaders have always gone around the country asking people to live in peace. They do not do this because Kenyans are at war but rather to encourage people to continue living in peace. No one should be bashed for preaching peace unless there is a sinister agenda at play.

Lastly, on the issue of Hon. Onyonka not being received at Logan, I must say that neither I nor Mr. Kinity is competent to cast aspersions either way. We are neither privy to any communications between the embassy and Mr. Onyonka beforehand nor to the internal protocol within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding visits by Kenyan officials to the US.

The ambassador does not have to explain to Mr. Kinity and his ilk anything concerning this matter. Moreover, Hon. Onyonka is not complaining and if he is, he would not channel his complaint through the media – his decorum would not allow it!.  Furthermore, the last time I checked, Mr. Kinity was not his spokesman. If he is, he should have stated that he was speaking in that capacity!.

And for those who have their claws out ready to pounce, I am not an ODM, PNU, WIPER, NARC, KANU, FORD or what have you operative. I am simply a peace loving Kenyan advocating sanity in this galore of renegade Kenyan Diaspora groupings that have become a hindrance to a positive Kenyan Diaspora agenda.

Regina Njogu, Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at law
Burtonsville, MD 20866

 

 

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this op-ed/blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the opinions of Mwakilishi News Media, or any other individual, organization, or institution. The content on this op-ed/blog is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual. The author himself is responsible for the content of the posts on this op-ed/blog, not any other organization or institution which he might be seen to represent. The author is not responsible, nor will he be held liable, for any statements made by others on this op-ed/blog in the op-ed blog comments, nor the laws which they may break in this country or their own, through their comments’ content, implication, and intent. The author reserves the right to delete comments if and when necessary. The author is not responsible for the content or activities of any sites linked from this op-ed/blog. Unless otherwise indicated, all translations and other content on here are original works of the op-ed/blog author and the copyrights for those works belong to the author.

Original Author: 
Regina Njogu
Image: 
Malachi  Kariuki's picture
Malachi Kariuki

For a long time now, I have had a high respect for Attorney Regina Njogu for her outspokenness, especially when she is defending or speaking for the Diaspora in the United States. But going through her article several times, I must say that I read mischief in it. At one point, she has claimed that Ambassador Elkannah Odembo has "visited Boston more times than he has visited any other US City including Tellahassee".

Now my questions are these:

  • How does she know this?
  • Does she keep the Ambassador's calendar?
  • Has she transferred/relocated her law office to the Kenyan Embassy in Washington, D.C.?
  • And my last question to you, Regina if you can hear me, is this: Has Ambassador Elkannah Odembo rented out your mouth or what?

Please tell the Kenyans the whole truth.

Malachi  Kariuki's picture
John Manyange

This is a piece by a perfect gatekeeper hiding behind 'a good citizen of Kenya' out to bring 'sanity' among the divided Diasporans. See and hear no evil where the political establishment interests are concerned.

I am shocked about your twisted logic on this issue.

Malachi  Kariuki's picture
Ivy Kinyanjui

Honestly, I tried to read this article to the end but I didn't have the stomach for it. The last straw was the author's attack on Mr. Kinity's article. She writes that the ambassador refuses to meet with tribal groupings and should be lauded for it. Who on earth would not laud him on such a logical concept? The problem is, and this is what Kinity points out, that the associations he ignores are NOT tribal groups! The little I read of this article is posited on this one fallacy!

All sensible people are cognizant of the fact that ambassadors and high-commissioners are political appointees. We get it. I, in fact, urge the ambassador to own up to the fact and to stop hiding behind platitudes and pseudo-intellectuals fronting for him. Jeeeez!!

Kenya Diaspora Summit is being bashed by Regina Njogu here. What is wrong with one other meeting with our leaders in a vast country as the USA? If you have an issue with one of the guests to the Summit, address that. The rest is not necessary and is uncalled for. People came, enjoyed the Summit and the Launching of New England's Kenyan Welfare Association that was attended by Worcester Mayor and Governor and of course the Summit Keynote Speakers namely Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Onyonka and the IEBC Vice Chair Lillian Mahiri. You are talking of divisiveness but after reading your article, I am wondering why the hate?

I smell double standards or not being able to face the fact that raia in the Diaspora pulled off a Summit with no sponsors and support from the Embassy and had a free event as compared to the DC 2011 Diaspora meeting that the same Regina Njogu organized and with heavy weight sponsors, they charged Kenyans $75! Let it go.

We are all doing the best for the Diaspora. It is not easy to unite in the Diaspora, but bashing someone for trying is what is hurting us.

Kenyans in Diaspora, please read the Summit Report and join us as we continue the fight to vote and other issues.

Kenya Diaspora Summit Report.

www.kenyadiasporadev.org go to Summit Report.

Comfort Munoru Mwangi
Chair-Kenya Diaspora Development Collaborative and CEO of KPV Radio.

.www.kenyaprogressivevoice.org
KPV Radio Voice of Reason
Saturday at 5pm Eastern.
Feel free to listen to paste shows too.

Malachi  Kariuki's picture
Paul Otwoma

Reading through this narrative from Regina Njogu, Esq, one will not need be a student of law to discern at whose behest her statement is being made. I do not know if Regina belongs to any grouping either the one based at the Ambassador's office but her opinion, evidently expresses the thinking in Washington, DC where anything coming from those regarded as "anti-Odembo caucus", which camouflages in the so called Ambassador's council is not only an enemy but a villain of the peace.

Listen to Regina speaking, "In this regard, there is a rudimentary maxim of social foundations of law that stipulates that when people refuse to follow norms of acceptable social behavior, a function of the law is to force them to do so." I am totally amazed here and lost as to understand the concept being applied here. My layman's understanding of the concept of a function of law that she is advocating to be applied on Kenyans simply because they are socialing in the best way they deem reasonable is that which is applied in situations of lawlessness. This concept basically justifies the enforcement of law and order and not in the context that Regina is trying to advocate for. Any right thinking Kenyan would agree that the approach that Mr. Odembo is applying to "unite" Kenyans will not work. You don't divide Kenyans along various groups and then turn around and say you are uniting them. His intentions may be good but he has missed the proper mechanisms of engaging with the evidently tribally divided Kenyan community in America. Ever since he replaced Peter Ogego, Odembo's 90% of activties are concetrated in the East Coast and purports to engage with Kenyans through one-sided newspaper stories. Is that where Kenyans are? Are those in the East Coast more Kenyan than the rest of us out here? 

Again Regina says the following....."As far as I can remember, Kenyan leaders have always gone around the country asking people to live in peace. They do not do this because Kenyans are at war but rather to encourage people to continue living in peace." This is another outright lie. Any Kenyan out here can agree with me that there is no single Kenyan leader who has gone out there to preach peace and harmony since the PEV. If they ever did, we could not still be having IDPS camping in various centers in Kenya. There only 'leaders' who have been campaigning and not preaching peace are William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta who have been galvanizing their tribesmen to cause more violence if they are convicted for their suspected crimes at the International Criminal Court. Show us any meeting convened by either Raila Odinga or Mwai Kibaki to seriously talk about unity of purpose in Kenya and to ensure that all people who were uprooted from their homes are guranteed a safe return.

While Regina accuses Kinity of purporting to speak on behalf of Onyonka, she forgets that her statement is full of pro-government rhetoric, which leaves with the question, "Are you speaking on behalf of Kenya Embassy in Washington, DC? Or to be more specific, are you Ambassador Odembo's press secretary? This is because, like someone else observed, you act like an establishment gatekeeper.

Regina needs to know that governments that have misinterpreted the essence of law have always turned out to be the worst dictators in history. When president Moi exploited the services of renowned lawyers - Maxwel Ombogo, Mutula Kilonzo, Amos Wako, etc to run the country as he did, things never remained the same. As an apparent legal adviser to the Ambassador, tell him the truth about the failures he is facing. Don't misinterpret the law and ultimately mislead him.

I don't belong to any of these ethnic based groups operating in America but I do not disagree with the diverse views each may hold. That is the essence of democracy and free society. But when you say that the Ambassador cannot meet the Kinity group simply because it comprised majority of one ethnic community, you are wrong. The Ambassador of Kenya MUST meet all Kenyans so that he listens to their views, advise them whenever necessary but he cannot shun them simply because they belong to various groupings.

I am afraid I can subscribe to Regina's thinking, which clearly shows that those who have the ear and eye of the Ambassador will ensure that he isolates every Kenyan who does not toe his philosophical thoughts. That is a recipe for further disharmony than unity that she casually talks about.

Malachi  Kariuki's picture
REGINA NJOGU

I am not for shunning any opinions. I ascribe fully to the principles of freedom of expression. However, the essence of what I am saying is that we in the Diaspora need to speak in one voice in order to get our issues addressed effectively. Also, I am not opposed to people associating with each other in whatever fashion they like. All I am saying is that if a group is not truly representative, it should not claim to speak for the entire Diaspora.

My opinion is; where a person is right, let us admit it. It is my opinion that the ambassador's approach on the issue of cohesion of Diaspora Kenyans is right. Others have a right to disagree with my view and it is alright. In fact, where I think the ambassador is wrong, I am hasty to express my opinion. For instance, I am totally opposed to the idea of ambassadors and consul generals being used as presiding officers in Diaspora elections. This is just one among other areas I disagree with Odembo.

Lastly, I do not see the issue of addressing Diaspora issues as one where one must be anti-government to push for positive change. I will not disagree with the government just for the sake of it or just so that I appear anti-establishment. I go by my convictions. I agree with it on some issues and disagree on others. I have come to learn that perpetual confrontation is not an effective strategy. Consultations is, of course unless the government of the day is anti-reform or dictatorial or unless consultation fails.  For those questioning my motive and claiming that I am a government stouge, how come I have been vocal is cricizing the government's decision on the right to vote  and on Dual citizenship matters??. I am on record as one of the Kenyans in the Diaspora disagreeing with the IEBC decision to set polling stations only at the embassies and consulates and also I am vehemently opposed to some provisions of Dual citizenship law such as the one that imposes a fine of Ksh. 5 million on Kenyans who fail to disclose acquisition of foreign citizenship. These is just very few of the Diaspora related issues where I do not see eye to eye with the government and am not afraid to express my opinion in that regard.

 

Regina, you mentioned the Diaspora having over 600 organizations, yet you chose ours to bash claiming you do not know me or have any personal issues with me! Then why dedicate 3 paragraphs to KDDC to bash us with made up stuff? Were you at the Summit? Have I talked with you? We are not Kinity Group, he was just a guest like any other. Question here is, if you are for unity, why are you doing like the entire Diaspora has to be served by a handful of Embassy selected Advisory Council? The Ambassodor was invited to the Summit end January and he replied that he was going to be busy on April 14th. When notified that the Asst. Minister was coming to Boston by the Ministry of Foreign affairs, his office only acknowledged receipt of notice on April 4th. So why lie about our organization contacting the Embassy people last minute to come fill in seats in a desperate move? That is malicious and you were not even there. The Summit was on a Saturday and the Embassy is many miles from Boston in DC and being Saturday it was closed. Why is it that you know the Ambassador's itenrary so well, you got paid as the event planner for the Embassy DC meeting in DC 2011 and in my opinion could just be feeling extremely bad that you were not involved in this Summit and it was free. I ask again, who are you fronting? Why are you targeting us for exercing our Democratic right?

So as a lawyer, you are saying we can defame people in the name of opinion? What was your source? Was your source also being malicious or giving an opinion?  In my opinion, you are out to make sure no other Diaspora organization can talk to leaders and begin converstions on issues affecting us in the diaspora unless it is through the Embassy and you in control. Get over yourself. Please, critizing the Government on Dual Citizenship and voting issues like we are all doing does not remove the fact that you are still behaving like the Embassy's mouthpiece. That is the difference and that is what people are asking you..

Reread what you wrote and try and understand why we are asking you these questions. This is what you wrote.

"Moreover, I take issue with any so called Diaspora organization that sidelines any segment of Kenyans in the Diaspora that it claims to represent. A case in point is the recent Kenyan Diaspora Development Network which recently held a conference in Boston MA. This group was formed because its founders disagreed with some aspects of the very successful Kenya Diaspora Conference of October 2011 spearheaded by the Kenya Embassy in Washington D.C.

The organization started off by sidelining and bashing the Kenya embassy and all those who had something to do with it, while at the same time trashing other Kenya Diaspora organizations such as the Kenya Diaspora Advisory Council of N.E region. In a last minute disingenuous and desperate move, its officials invited Kenya embassy officials and those who work with it just to fill in the chairs at its conference, after it realized that turn out at its conference was going to be low.

The reason why I, and perhaps many other US Diaspora Kenyans did not attend the KDDN conference is because there is a widespread belief among Kenyans that another Kenyan Diaspora organization is not the answer to Diaspora concerns. If Mr. Kinity, one of the key players in KDDN is genuine about pursuing a Diaspora agenda, he should like all other peace-loving and reasonable Kenyans spend his time contributing positively to shaping issues affecting the Kenyan Diaspora".

Isaac MaseThe issue with the Mau should not be pozeitcilid the action should be taken. &Carole you are right we should not only be concern with Mua forgetting about other forests, all are important.

Malachi  Kariuki's picture
Katiku

 Regina, although I do not doubt your education background, I doubt whether you are exercising the knowledge you acquired from school when attending to this controversy. If the Ambassador failed to respond to 45 clergy men who I think were Kenyans as Mr. Kinity  mentioned, if the Ambassador has framed Kenyans in the Diaspora the agitators of chaos in Kenya, what peace campaign is the Ambassador trying to talk about in his alleged peace campaign within the Diaspora?. Please read the standard article and also read the article from the organizers of the Diaspora Summit in Massachusetts recently. Everything is very clear, even to a primary school kid.

Malachi  Kariuki's picture
Regina Njogu

While I appreciate your right to respond and bash me if you like, please exercise some decorum - insults will not make your view better than mine. There are a lot of people who agree with me and others agree with you guys. Can we just agree to disagree and quit protracting this issue? Comfort, why do you  keep asking me to let it go when you keep pushing it yourself?. By the way, no one was paid to organize the October 2011 conference. We were all volunteers. It is funny how you accuse me of lying and misrepresenting the facts, while you are doing exactly that, speaking from a position of ignorance!!. We might never agree on this and thats alright, but lets be ladies and show some class. 

How do I know the ambassador's schedule? It is online on the Kenya embassy website and his activities are usually reported in the media. Whatever your insinuations on this issue are, they are simply that. Do I speak for him? No, he is more than capable of speaking for himself!. I am not fronting anyone and I am not an embassy mouthpiece - I am an independent thinker and whatever was in the article is my view. So any time I support any position by the embassy I am fronting for it??

Katuko, no offense intended - A primary school kid would understand what I am saying if the opposite is true.

You brought it on. It was not necessary to bring KDDC into your conversation as you hid behind the "opinion". I am sure profits were shared, but I may have used the word paid. We will probably have to seek an audit of that public conference as Kenyans. It had sponsors and Kenyans had to pay $75 to listen to Government policy amongst other stuff. New Kenya is here. Wake up and smell the coffee.. Oh! The Ambassador's schedule is online? How many people check it out? I cannot imagine in my right mind waking up in the morning and saying "hmm..where is the Ambassador going today?" Pliz... You are getting lamer by the minute. There is a swa saying, " given a pilipili that you are not eating, how can you feel the burn?"..Read: A Summit that you were not invited to, why has it bothered you so much?"

Regina, stop this talking down at me to be a lady...you threw the first punch/insult/bash. Where are those who support you? Hardly seen a supportive comment. Accept you made a poor judgement call given your education, and I took you on. Just like the new Kenya we are building. Blurting out siasa winning points at others expense aint happening no more. You still do not get what we are telling you. If the Ambassador is capable to speak for himself, why are you feeling obliged to speak up for the Embassy? Finding out if we are calling them to fill seats, etc.  I know they all agree you are brilliant which I do not doubt, but you made a mistake writing about us and you do not know us. That is all I am saying.. Learn your lesson and stick to your own stuff, fight your own battles, but if you bring your war with others to me or others like me, I/we will take you on. I'm sorry..I am not the kind to sit down. Quit using this decorum this decorum that..you had no decorum in the first place pulling our positive agenda to fight others. Decorum my foot! "

People who are indulged in self-importance, when overtaken by facts by others, quickly call them ignorant" Author unknown. This rings a bell all the time.

Comfort Munoru Mwangi BBA, MBA Heidelberg, Germany, MSc. Ed Hons. Miami, FL

Malachi  Kariuki's picture
Peter Makori

Folks,

This is an interesting discourse. However, I'd suggest that good people address the germane issues that can lead us somewhere.

The contentious issue here is the manner in which Regina wrote her opinion. The other contention is the feeling by some Kenyans that they are being treated poorly by His Excellency the Ambassador of the Republic of Kenya, Elkana Odembo. Regina's eloquent defence of the Ambassador's perceived ills on fellow Kenyans has certainly not gone down well with a good number of people.

In her article, Regina sounded like the Ambassador's spokesman, although she has tried to deny it in her response to several criticisms from disgusted Kenyans. If it is proved that Mr. Odembo has been dismissing Kenyans wishing to meet with him in Washington, DC calling them tribalists, then something is terribly wrong. That is not acceptable.

Reading Mr. Knity's complaints, no man or woman of good mind can dismiss him as a tribalist ranting at the Ambassador. Mr. Kinity claims that a group of 45 clergymen went to Washington, DC to meet with the Ambassador. However, according to him, Ambassador Odembo refused to see them and that he dismissed them as a bunch of tribalists.

Did the Ambassador actually dismiss Kenyans who went to see him as tribalists? If he perceived them as tribalists, could not have been fair for him to give them audience, hear what they had to say but then also take his time and persuade them to abandon their alleged tribal inclinations. Regina says it was nice that the Ambassador treated those Kenyans the way he allegedly did. If the Ambassador is depending on Regina's counsel, then Kenyans are doomed.

Regina's language was aggressive, condescending and laced with some arrogance. I have seen her second statement, whcih looks mild and reasonable. I agree with her that speaking across purposes will not help solve the myriad problems afflicting the Diaporans. But I was flabbergasted by her eloquent defence of the Ambassador's alleged attitude toward other Kenyans. When I last spoke to Mr. Odembo, I found him to be a very intelligent man. He sounded highly reasonable, engaging and displayed a determination to help Kenyans in the Diaspora get organized and pursue a common agenda to help build Kenya. There are problems of tribal groupings is a fact but this problem can only be solved by talking to the people. First accept them the way they are and try to influence them to accept positive change among themselves. But threatening and blackmailing Kenyans will not wash.

We need a united Kenyan Diaspora who approach issues collectively like the Latinos because that way, even the U.S. government will take us seriously. Has any Kenyan asked him/herself why President Obama whose origins are Kenya has never thought of visiting the country of his father? It is because of some these petty and corrupt behaviours.

Recently, while on a visit to Kansas, I found a group of Kenyans in an exclusive Kenyan church who complained that the Ambassador was disrespectiful to Kenyans whenever they wanted to talk to him. I told them that it could be because of the exigencies of his work that has denied him the precious time to engage with them. But some had a quick rejoinder where they gave the example of Peter Ogego who they pointed out visited with Kenyans in every State; held meetings and listened to Kenyans before he took the opportunity to advise them what to do. But dismissing Kenyans as tribalists is not diplomatic at all if this has happened.

I think it'll be much helpful if Mr. Odembo reevaluates his position and accepted that frequenting Boston - as you said he does from time to time - does not mean he has met all Kenyans in America. Kenyans are all over America unless those who live in Boston are more Kenyan than these bunch of tribalists and social misfits as Regina called them in her article.

I rest my case.

Peter Makori

Malachi  Kariuki's picture
Katiku

New Developments. Regina, is this real evidence of corruption at the Kenyan Embassy?

First it was Mr. Isaac Newton Kinity who said, "Unless a new project to loot public funds in the name of collecting signatures to keep peace in America is in the offing, it would be unimaginable to buy buses in order to go round USA to collect signatures from Kenyans in the Diaspora for the purposes of keeping peace".  Then Ms Comfort Mwangi said, "Diaspora meeting, the same Regina Njogu organized and with heavy weight Sponsors they charged $75 !  I am sure profits were shared but I may have used the word paid. We will probably have to seek an audit of that public conference as Kenyans. It had Sponsors and Kenyans paid $75 to listen to Government policy amongst and other stuff".  In response, Regina Njogu said, " By the way, no one was paid to organize the October 2011 Conference, We were all Volunteers".  

At $75 per head, the estimated 400 Kenyans who attended the October 2011 Diaspora Conference paid a total of $30,000. If added to the amounts of money given to the Embassy by the heavy weight sponsors and the money which may have been set aside from the Embassy Kit for the Conference, the total amount of money would probably have  reached $200,000.

Here are the questions:

  • Regina, where did the money collected from those who attended the Conference go?
  • Regina, where did the money from the heavy weight Sponsors go?
  • Regina, did the the Ambassador  use of any of the Kenya Embassy funds in the October 2011 Diaspora Conference?

From what has already transpired, there are signs of lack of transparency  at the Kenyan Embassy in Washington, DC and it would either be necessary for the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission to visit the Kenyan Embassy or the Embassy office account for every cent received and used at the October 2011 Diaspora Conference.

Mau forest is of stetragic importance to the rift valley, and sorrounding areas,and the people who got land there illegally should rightfully be evicted. But what most people seem to forget is that Karura forest and Ngong forest has also suffered the same fate, so, what is being done to reclaim them? As most of central province has dried up because of deforestation.

Malachi  Kariuki's picture
Malachi Kariuki

I quite agree now that you do not understand what we are saying to you or asking you, Regina. This is what you said/wrote, among other things:

"The ambassador does not have to explain to Mr. Kinity and his ilk anything concerning this matter. Moreover, Hon. Onyonka is not complaining and if he is, he would not channel his complaint through the media – his decorum would not allow it!.  Furthermore, the last time I checked, Mr. Kinity was not his spokesman. If he is, he should have stated that he was speaking in that capacity!."

My question to you, Regina, is this: The last time you checked, you did it as who and for whom? Please explain.

Malachi  Kariuki's picture
Regina Njogu

On the Kenya Diaspora Conference 2011, space was paid for and food served for two days. Everyone paid $60.00, and late registrants paid $75.00 to attend including the organizers like myself. In fact, there were a couple of committees each of about 10 to 15 people from the Diaspora that handled various aspects. I was chair of the publicity committee. There was a budget committee made up of ordinary Kenyans in the Diaspora, that handled the budget.

If you have any further questions on the issue of funds, you better contact the embassy. I am a private citizen and has never handled any money on behalf of the embassy. My involvement in the October 2011 conference was 100 percent volunteer. In fact, for all the time I put into the conference, I still had to pay to attend, not forgetting I was also a speaker and no courtesy was extended to me in terms of payment waiver.

Anyone insinuating misappropriation of public funds on this matter, should be very careful because this is totally not true.  Get the audit from the embassy or call the anti-corruption people or whatever.

Malachi, you do not understand what I am saying either. 'The last time I checked is simply a figurative prose  and not literal...you seem to be interpreting it literally!. 

This is my last response on this issue. The questions being asked on funding the October 2011 conference are outside my purview and would be better addressed by the embassy.

Just to let you know that the Kenya embassy is hosting another conference in October 2012 and needs volunteers for the various organizing committees. FYI, I am not involved in this year's conference organization as the embassy would like to give a chance to other Kenyans in the Diaspora to participate in organizing, other than those that helped organize the last conference.

KDDC will issue an official repsonse to Regina Njogu's attack on the weekly KPV radio on Saturday May 5, 2012, 5pm EST. To listen, log in to http://kenyaprogressivevoice.org. Sincerely, Tegi Obanda for KDDC.

Malachi  Kariuki's picture
Francis

Most of Regina's arguments are valid, I think her only mistake was targeting one individual organization. She could have also chosen some kinder words. However, it is true that the Kenyan Diaspora in the U.S. is very fragmented, and the solution is not to create small organizations (tribal-based or not) but to form one central organization that is representative of us all which could have chapters in various states so that we can all speak in one voice.

Having so many fragmented orgnizations is counter-productive, especially when they all seem to stand for the same  issues. In the end the government in Kenya or anyone else will not pay us much attention when our messages keep coming from various groups, all claiming to represent the Diaspora. They won't know who to listen to and who not to.

Malachi  Kariuki's picture
NJOROGE NGINYAYU

Ms Njogu is simply dead wrong. To call any organization tribal is an insult that cannot be accepted especially coming from a civil servant. If an organization draws its member from one community, that does not automatically render that organization tribal.  The purpose, mission or goals of an organization would render it tribal or non-tribal. Madam lawyer you have been trained somewhere about incorporating organizations in the course of your study. Does reason/purpose  of existence help?

If there were organizations out there made by people from Nyanza with aim of raising money to help orphans in Kenya, that would not make the organization tribal because of the members. This big brush being used by civil servant (I find it contradictory to call you his Excellency) Odembo and Njogu is wrong. Per this tribal definition which Diaspora organization would not be tribal? Your predecessor should have been very tribal cause he readily met these “tribal grouping”.

This country is so huge and wel are all scattered in various states and as it is in line with communities. Mr Ambassador, your appointing authority RAO meets delegations from various parts of country who lobby for services, appointments etc. Will you accuse our PM of being tribal? Note he is not!

Meet everybody as much you can who can assist in any shape or form to unite us, promote investment in our beloved Motherland regardless of tribe, groupings, color, religion, sex, status etc. Meet them all. One more request calling anyone tribal, be it group or individual is a painful insult. Kindly cease.
 

 

THE ORIGIN OF KDDC, AND REGINA'S NJOGU'S IMMEDIATE BACKLASH ONOCTOBER 17, 2011, ONE WEEK AFTER ODEMBO'S CONFERENCE..

 ---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Re: Inviting you to Kenya Diaspora Development Network--follow-up
to Washington DC Conference
From:    "Regina Njogu" <njogu@rnwlawfirm.com>
Date:    Mon, October 17, 2011 9:36 am
To:      "Kenya Diaspora Development Network-" <info@kenyadiasporadev.org>
Cc:      "RNW Law Firm" <info@rnwlawfirm.com>
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hello Comfort,

While, I appreciate your concerns and those of others, I disagree with your approach towards resolving your cocerns. The answer is not forming another Kenyan Diaspora organization. Trust me, many have come and gone!. I am part of the Diaspora and was heavily involved in planning the just concluded Kenya Diaspora Conference 2011, along with many other members of the Kenyan Diaspora in the US. I can assure you that the embassy went an extra mile  to incorporate the views of the Diaspora in planning the conference and hence there is absolutely no silencing of Diaspora view per your claim. In fact, the converse is true. The conference 's agenda was to engage the Diaspora and not to silence them. Obviously, the program was not perfect. This is the first time a conference of this kind has been planned and held. I believe the embassy included a feed back form in the registration program package. Please use that form to voice your concerns so that the embassy and future planners can consider your views in planning the next conference

Secondly, I want to bring to your attention the fact that the ambassador has initiated Kenya Diaspora Councils now being formed in many regions/cities across the US. The role of these councils is to voice the concerns of Diaspora Kenyans wherever they are and represent their views. I urge you to use these channels instead of forming another organization which will be a further fragmentation of the Kenya Diaspora in the US.

. .


On Sun, Oct 16, 2011 at 11:31 AM, Kenya Diaspora Development Network- <
info@kenyadiasporadev.org> wrote:

>   To ensure a smooth delivery of the emails into your inboxes, please add
> info@kenyadiasporadev.org to your email address book
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> *KENYA DIASPORA DEVELOPMENT NETWORK [KDDN]*
> ------------------------------
> Collaboration for Economic Empowerment* *
>
> Ms. Regina Njogu, Esq.
>
> RNW Law Firm
>
> 3537 Spencerville Road, Ste. 4
>
> Burtonsville
>
> MD, USA
>
>
>
> Dear Ms. Regina Njogu, Esq.:
>
> Inviting you to Kenya Diaspora Development Network--Follow-up to
> Washington DC Conference
>
> Following the October 8-9th, 2011 Kenya Diaspora Conference in Washington
> DC, various participants were of the opinion that
>
>  ALTHOUGH the Ambassador and the Government of Kenya deserve praise for
> making the effort to engage members of the Kenyan Diaspora, the conference
> did not give the participants adequate opportunity to be heard. Most of the
> presentations were one-sided infomercials touting one
> program/service/product or another, and there was very little effort to
seek
> out or even tolerate the views of participants.
>
> THE MAIN CAUSE OF THE SILENCING OF THE KENYAN DIASPORA in a conference
> about us is not the fault of the government, but that of the members of the
> Kenyan Diaspora themselves, as they have not exhibited mature leadership by
> uniting and speaking in one voice.
>
> THEREFORE, it is suggested that –as per informal discussions by various
> participants—the following be implemented:
>
> 1. We create yahoo and face book and discussion forum for people to go deep
> on the issues that were only glazed over.
> kenyadiasporadev-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
>
> Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/203971326338802/<http://hosted.comm100.co...
>
>
> 2. The members of the Kenyan Diaspora need their own organization so that
> in subsequent engagements, we should be an organized group, and not just
> unconnected individuals.
>
> 3. Discussions should focus on forming a new organization that is probably
> and tentatively called The Kenya Diaspora Development.
>
> 4. The summer conference should be preceded by a spring conference to
> launch the network.
>
> 5. The Spring conference should be organized by members of the Kenyan
> Diaspora for Kenya Diaspora, and should involve environmental groups,
> humanitarian foundations, philanthropists and so on.
>
> 6. The discussions should nurture at least one major Diaspora enterprise
> which those interested may co-own in a cooperative framework. This should
> serve as a model for subsequent joint cooperative ventures
>
> 7.  Mechanisms for Innovation and investment fund be discussed to enable
> those with ground-breaking ideas to get their innovations to market.
>
> 8. KDD be registered as a non-profit in the United States as soon as
> possible. Interim officials be selected from among participants and to be
> regionally representative.
>
> 9. The cooperative be registered separately both in the US and in Kenya to
> comply with the laws and regulations of both countries.
>
> 10. Members to invite more members because the more we are, the easier and
> faster it is to establish any enterprise we envisage.
>
> Subscribe to email discussion by sending empty email to:
> kenyadiasporadev-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
>
>
>
> Join the Kenya Diaspora Face book discussion at:
>
> http://www.facebook.com/groups/203971326338802/<http://hosted.comm100.co...
>
>
>  If you have any question, do not hestitat et contact us at
> info@kenyadiasporadev.org.
>
>
>
> Regards
>
> Comfort Mwangi
> for Interim Coordinating Team
>
>
>
> http://www.kenyadiasporadev.org
>
>

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions to Mwakilishi.com.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Facebook Comments Box

Follow us on Twitter @mwakilishi.

Featured Article

Kora Hardy has always been a private, soft-spoken person. She never anticipated taking part in a pageant until now.

“Many people who know me might not have expected me to participate in this, but I believed that my passion was worth a large...

2767 reads

Featured Article

The chef responsible for food choices at the Oregon Convention Center has received a high industry honor. Allan Wambaa, who's executive chef for the convention center, the Portland'5 Centers for the Arts and the Portland Expo Center, has attained...

1603 reads

Featured Article

The Kenya Embassy in Washington, DC will start accepting applications for Kenya National Identity Cards (IDs) from Kenyans resident in the United States of America beginning on Thursday March 27th, 2014 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm. With March 27th being...

4619 reads

Featured Article

In this week’s episode of Diaspora Notebook, NTV’s Chris Wamalwa interviews Julie Weche, founder of Elimu Tutoring and Training Center.

Elimu Tutoring and Training Center serves the Kenyan community in Baltimore, Maryland, providing after-s...

5026 reads

SYNDICATED NEWS FEEDS

Aggregated Feeds