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IEBC to accelerate development of diaspora vote policy

27 April 2016, 12:40

Nairobi - Kenya plans to fast track the development of a Diaspora Vote policy in order to increase the participation of the Diaspora in the 2017 general elections.

Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) Manager for Electoral Operations, Mwaura Kamwati told Xinhua in Nairobi Tuesday that in the previous presidential election only those in East African Community states voted.

"The policy will provide a framework to enable all eligible voters in the diaspora to cast votes for their preferred candidates," Kamwati said during the First National Stakeholders Roundtable on the Diaspora Voting.

Kamwati said that a draft policy has been developed from views of all major stakeholders, and "will soon be tabled in parliament for debate and endorsement before the 2017 general elections".

Read Also: Khalwale: It's the police who were rioting

The 2010 constitution requires that the electoral body provide an opportunity for Kenyans in the Diaspora to vote.

Government data indicates that over three million Kenyans live outside the country.

The electoral official said that once the policy is in place, it will provide a framework to enable all Kenyans based overseas to vote.

"This will ensure that all Kenyans regardless of their location have a voice in choosing leaders," he said.

IEBC has also released a Diaspora Voter mapping tool to provide the exact numbers of these segment of voters.

"We will soon embark on major sensitization program to encourage those in the diaspora to register their locations," Kamwati said.

"This will provide accurate figures that will guide the IEBC on where to place the polling stations as well as the size of personnel required to oversee the Diaspora voting," he added.

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- Xinhua


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