Ambassador's Message to Kenyans in Diaspora on Referendum 13/08/2010
On 4 August 2010, Kenyans voted at the referendum overwhelmingly in favour of a new Constitution, marking a major milestone in the country’s governance structure. The turnout at the ballot was in excess of 72%, with 67% of that voting YES. The new constitutional dispensation is a major pillar of agenda item 4 of the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation process, which the grand coalition government undertook to implement in 2008, following its formation.
The new constitution, to be promulgated by His Excellency the President on 27 August 2010, is home-grown and replaces the one which we adopted at independence. It was arrived at following extensive consultations amongst the people of Kenya, who gave their views thereon to the Committee of Experts. The new constitution takes cognizance of all interest groups of Kenyans, including those living abroad, the latter of who hitherto have not been engaged in a structured manner to contribute to the country’s national development. Indeed, both during the Bomas of Kenya process and through to that of the Committee of Experts that came up with the final draft adopted at the referendum, the Kenya Diaspora made its voice very clearly heard on major issues that are now part of our new constitution.
Kenyans who may have acquired the citizenship of another country will now be free to retain their Kenyan citizenship. This is a major breakthrough, and is a result of the Diaspora’s continuous effort to lobby through different fora for dual nationality to be included in the constitution so that they are able to enjoy their rights as citizens of Kenya, and to contribute fully towards the economic growth, development and welfare of the motherland. Once a Kenyan, therefore, always a Kenyan!
Dual nationality will enhance participation of the Diaspora in matters of national development. Kenyans living abroad will enjoy rights which they have hitherto not enjoyed. Among other things, they will now be able to vote at national and other elections in Kenya, thus giving them a direct voice in matters concerning their country. It is expected that this will encourage the Diaspora to invest more in their motherland, which in turn will greatly help to boost our economy and bring us closer to achieving both the Millennium Development Goals and our very own Vision 2030.
I wish to take this opportunity and invite all Kenyans living in the Kingdom of Belgium and in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to join me in congratulating our brothers and sisters back at home for voting resoundingly for the new constitution, which heralds a new dawn for our beloved country. My hope is that the wind of change blowing through our motherland, and the patriotism and maturity exhibited by our brothers and sisters at home during the referendum will inspire all of us to wanting to do even more to make our country the envy of all. Each one of us has a role to play in this regard. I submit that the starting point is for you to register as a member of the recently registered “Association of the Kenyan Diaspora in Belgium and Luxembourg” which is, in my opinion a good vehicle to facilitate interaction amongst ourselves and with fellow Kenyans back home. This Embassy is your embassy, and is at your disposal and service, always. You must feel free to share your thoughts with us, particularly on how we can make our country a better place for us, and for all our future generations.