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Kenyan aspirants scramble for diaspora vote

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Denzel Musumba

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Presidential aspirants are making unprecedented efforts to secure votes of Kenyans living outside the country in the belief that they could be crucial in winning the contest for State House in the forthcoming General Election.Leading aspirants have opened offices in key cities such as London in the United Kingdom, New York and Washington in the US and Johannesburg in South Africa in their determination to tap the vote, which could tilt the results for President Kibaki’s successor.The scramble for the external voters comes as a government team to craft the rules and regulations guiding Diaspora voting — one of the new provisions in the Constitution — burns the midnight oil to ensure that Kenyans out there play a role in the choice of the next leadership.“The team (government task force) is working overtime. We want the report to be ready by the time the boundaries team (Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission) has completed its work. We want diaspora voting to start with a bang,” said Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo on Sunday.Kenyans in the Diaspora, who were hitherto only courted for campaign financing, were given the right to vote for the first time ever by the new Constitution.Even though the IEBC estimates there are as many as three million Kenyans abroad, less than half of them are registered with embassies and consulates, according to figures from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.With 600,000, the United States has the highest number followed by the United Kingdom (300,000), Canada (60,000), United Arab Emirates (46,000), South Africa (40,000) and South Sudan (20,000). More info click here

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