Africa-Press – Kenya. The electoral body has been urged to provide the necessary groundwork to enable those in the diaspora to fully participate in the election.
Kenya Diaspora Alliance chairman Shem Ochuodho said on Thursday that most people in the diaspora reside far from the polling stations, making it difficult for them to travel for miles to cast their votes.
“This is because IEBC is failing to provide the necessary infrastructure and there are sparsely located polling stations to register diaspora voters,” he said.
He said the long distances between the polling stations had made it difficult for the voters to actually cast votes.
“If you expect someone living in Seattle to travel all the way to Washington DC which is about two hours of driving, that will be impossible,” he said.
Kenyans in the diaspora still account for the lowest number of registered voters in the IEBC register.
IEBC gazetted register of voters showing 6,221 new diaspora voters were captured in the last registration exercise, a moderate rise from its previous number.
The commission had noted that there are about two million Kenyans residing in various countries, a paltry 10,444 are eligible to vote for their preferred presidential candidate in the August 9 poll.
Statistics, however, show Qatar leads with 1,437 votes while neighbouring Tanzania comes second with 1,402. Uganda and Rwanda follow with 1,211 and 1,090 votes, respectively.
South Africa has 958, South Sudan (977), Germany (314), UK (798), UAE (745), Canada (366) and USA (744).
The chairman urged the commission to consider adopting technology for those in the diaspora.
“The best solution for them is technology since most of these people can access the internet,” Ochuodho noted.