“BBI Ruling Leaves Kenya at a Crossroads” blog post by Michelle Gavin at Council on Foreign Relations “Africa in Transition“. [Ed. note: Michelle Gavin was also handling the Africa program at CFR during the fraudulent 2007 election and ensuing crisis. Non-resident fellow Jendayi Frazer, of course, was Asst. Secretary of State during the election and crisis. Between the two there is unusually intimate institutional memory for the Council on Foreign Relations, along with the related competing interests associated with the connections.]
Same issues as 2013 and 2017, same alleged frantic time-crunch.
For instance, the 2010 “New Katiba” granted the right to vote to Kenyans in the diaspora, starting with the 2012 general election. Even though the election was postponed to 2013, the IEBC under then-Chairman Issack Hassan elected to disenfranchise diaspora voters in spite of the coming into force of the new Constitution.
The current IEBC Chairman, Wafula Chebukati, was then appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta from the nominees of a controversial selection process and took office in January 2017 in time for the general election and annulled presidential vote that August, marked by the unsolved abduction, torture and murder of the ICT Director and the subsequent resignation of a majority of the Commissioners.
Although civil society groups had obtained a 2015 court ruling to enforce the diaspora voting requirement of the Constitution, the IEBC still failed in 2017 to implement more than a very limited, truncated, diaspora vote process.
See “Diaspora Voting in Kenya: a Promise Denied“, Elizabeth Iams Wellman and Beth Elise Whitaker, African Affairs, Vol. 120, Issue 479, April 2021, Pages 199-217. (In 2010, Kenya extended voting rights to its estimated 3,000,000 citizens living abroad . . . Yet . . . fewer than 3,000 Kenyans were permitted to vote from abroad in the 2013 and 2017 presidential elections. What explains the failure of the Kenyan government to implement diaspora voting on a broader scale? . . . We argue that uncertainty about the number of Kenyan emigrants and their political preferences, paired with a highly competitive electoral climate, meant there was little political will to push for more widespread implementation of diaspora voting.)
The live event will take place at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems headquarters in Washington from 10:00am to 2:00pm Eastern Daylight Time on Friday, November 2 (5:00pm to 9:00pm Nairobi):
A mandate of the newly appointed Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of Kenya is to enable diaspora voting. With this, there is immense pressure from political parties and diaspora groups to fully enable out-of-country voting during the March 2013 elections. The IEBC has enacted a policy that will allow Kenyan voters to register and vote at 47 embassies worldwide.
However, this policy may not completely satisfy the demands for out-of-country voting accessibility.
To promote better understanding of this issue among officials and leaders of the Kenyan diaspora, IFES will broadcast a workshop via live webcast to describe the complexities surrounding the out-of-country voting process.
Invited experts will examine key topics, including:
Implementation of out-of-country voting
Biometric voter registration and its significance in Kenya’s elections
Costs and benefits of Internet voting
Registration and voting procedures for members of the Kenyan diaspora
Featured speakers will include:
Ahmed Issack Hassan, Chairman, IEBC
Peter Erben, Senior Global Electoral Adviser and Chief of Party in Indonesia, IFES
J. Alex Halderman, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, University of Michigan
Moderated by Mike Yard, Chief of Party in Kenya, IFES
Carl LeVan, a “friend of the blog” and African democracy specialist from American University, is leading an interesting roundtable at the Institute for Policy Studies tomorrow in Washington:
Young Voices and New Visions from Africa
Roundtable at the Institute for Policy Studies, 1112 – 16TH Street NW
12:30 – 2:00 on Thursday, October 11
In a public discussion with young bloggers, students, and activists from Africa, IPS Associate Fellow and American University Professor Carl LeVan will ask, is there a generation gap in Africa today? Please join us at the Institute for Policy Studies for a roundtable discussion on African diaspora democracy. Is the real significance of the so-called ‘youth bulge’ an emerging generation gap between citizens and leaders? How do young people confront negative stereotypes of Africa in the US, while also challenging the hard political realities back home?This free, public dialogue will include:
· Jumoke Balogun, a Nigerian-American blogger and public relations expert with the Service Employees International Union
· Mame-Khady Diouf, a Senegalese intellectual from the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars
· Kizito Byenkya, an Associate Fellow at the Open Society Institute and co-publisher of Compareafrique.com
· Michael Appau, a Ghanaian student at Georgetown University
· Estelle Bougna Fomeju, a Cameroonian student at Sciences Po in Paris