Kenyans in the diaspora want to be incorporated in leadership and policy making positions in their motherland.
Through the Kenya Diaspora Council, a lobby group representing Kenyans in the US, Europe and other parts of the world, they said they should have a say in any decisions that affect the country’s political or economic landscape including the proposed constitutional changes through the Building Bridges Initiative.
John Mbagara, a member of the council, said views of Kenyans living or working abroad should not be ignored when it comes to management of the country’s political or economic affairs as they play a big role in development activities through remittances, investment and even philanthropy.
According to the Central Bank of Kenya, formal remittances through the Kenya Diaspora stood at Sh 113 billion in 2013, representing 2.98 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product. Members of the Diaspora feel that this, as well as cash transfers and untapped skills put them at a vantage point to help transform the country if they play active roles in leadership.
“There should be seats occupied by members of the the Diaspora in various levels of leadership including the Executive, the Senate, National Assembly and the counties for them to feel represented and have a platform to air their views and even to bring investors in the country,” said Mbagara, an aviation engineer from Gatundu North with dual citizenship in the US and Kenya.
He spoke while leading a delegation of Kenyans from the US on a tour of projects in Ruiru which are funded by Focus Dream Centre, a Community Based Organization that supports various learning institutions in Kiambu County.
The center runs a school for children from families with poverty in Juja’s Theta ward and a feeding program for 100 pupils at Githunguri Primary School in Ruiru’s Gitothua ward.
Mbagara who was accompanied by Bishop Richard Kimwele of Emma Fellowship International and pastor Samuel Kariuki among other clerics said at least 200 Kenyans from foreign countries have resolved to come back home and vie for various elective positions in the 2022 elections.
“Kenyans abroad are also concerned by the divisive politics being propagated by some leaders particularly the ‘hustlers and dynasty narrative’ which said should stop forthwith,” he added.
He also asked the county’s leadership to mentor the youth to take over the management of political affairs rather than continue “recycling the old guard.”
Bishop Kimwele concurred and said time has come for Africans to have youth in key leadership positions rather than make it a preserve for the elderly.