The Constitution of Kenya stipulates legislation of a framework for the progressive registration of citizens residing outside Kenya, and the progressive realization of their right to vote (Article 82, section (1) subsection (e). In working to achieve this mandate, IEBC is developing detailed regulations and procedures on Diaspora registration and voting and will submit the same to Parliament at least 6 months before the general elections as required by law.
This requires a consultative process that needs the input of Kenyans in the Diaspora, Civil Society Organisations and consensus amongst political parties and consideration of international best practices.
1 million diaspora voters are set to be registered to vote in the 2017 elections, The Kenya Diaspora Alliance (KDA) said it is hoping to register the voters living abroad in their millions, ahead of the 2017 presidential elections. Speaking to the press on Sunday, KDA Global Chairperson Shem Ochuodho said that those living abroad had a right to participate in the elections. He said that the Alliance is in talks with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and other stakeholders on Diaspora voting, Capital Fm reports. He urged the government to allocate more resources to aid the IEBC in the registration of voters.The Supreme Court recently directed the IEBC to effect progressive voter-registration for Kenyans living in the Diaspora. The court said that the annual reports would be reviewed by the National Assembly and the Senate.
Groups representing diaspora voters had moved to the High Court in July, seeking a declaration that Kenyans abroad have inviolable rights to vote in Kenyan elections, The Nation reports. They wanted the court to compel the IEBC to register and organize the elections in a way that the diaspora voters will be able to take part without traveling back home.
The Kenya Diaspora Alliance is made up of groups looking out for the interests of Kenyans living abroad. It has about 250,000 members all living in different parts abroad.
Key considerations for the process include: costs, the impact of Diaspora voting on domestic politics, logistics and other operational issues. Diaspora voting comes with administrative challenges such as security and transportation of electoral materials, voter education and training. Some jurisdictions define the eligibility of the Diaspora voter by the number of years lived abroad. There is need to identify agents and observers.