On 11th May 2017, H.E. Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, C.G.H., the President of The Republic of Kenya held a meeting with the Kenyan Diaspora representatives in The United Kingdom. In his address, the President informed that he was looking forward to meeting with all Kenyans living in UK during the visit. However, the time which had been allocated had been taken up by another unforeseen session of the Somalia Conference and related side events. He requested the Diaspora representatives to convey his apologies to other Kenyans.
The President emphasized that the Kenya Government values and treasures the contribution by the Kenyan Diaspora in national development. He said that apart from the economic capital provided by the Diaspora through remittance, they possess a wealth of experience and know-how in every possible discipline of business and enterprise that needs to be harnessed for the country’s development.
In this regard, he singled out the creation of the Diaspora department and development of the Diaspora policy which seeks to formalize and enhance engagement with the Diaspora for national development. The Head of State further informed that the Government has provided the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) with necessary budgetary provisions and was looking forward to a peaceful, free and fair election.
The President reiterated that the country would have hoped that all Kenyans in the Diaspora vote in the General elections but due to tight timeliness and logistics involved IEBC had informed that only Kenyans in Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and South Africa would participate in the elections. He, however, stated that the Diaspora could still play a very significant role in ensuring that citizens back home choose the right leaders and by making sure that there is national cohesion.
The President further informed that the Delegation is in London to participate in the London Somalia Conference considering the critical role Kenya is playing in the restoration of peace in Somalia and the sub-region.
At the national level, He enumerated some of his Government’s achievements to date including the development of essential infrastructure to support manufacturing and industrialization, transforming agriculture, improving the business environment, provision of enhanced social services, and development of rural areas through devolution. He further called for their support to enable the Government to continue implementing its priority programs aimed at raising country’s productivity for sustainable and inclusive growth.
The Head of state was accompanied by Hon. Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs; Hon. Charles Keter, Cabinet Secretary for Energy and Petroleum; Hon. Amb. Raychelle Omamo, Cabinet Secretary for Defence; Hon. Prof. Githu Muigai, The Attorney General; and Mr. Andrew Kamau, the Principal Secretary in the State Department of Petroleum and other senior Government officials.
Speaking during the event, the High Commissioner of Kenya to the UK H.E Lazarus Amayo thanked the Head of State for finding time on the sidelines of the Somalia Conference to talk to the Kenyan Diaspora representatives. He also thanked the Diaspora for finding time to attend despite the short notice noting that this underscores the patriotism that is inherent in them and their firm desire to see Kenya prosper. He regretted that the prevailing circumstances could not allow a meeting with all members of the Diaspora Community that would have wanted to meet with the Head of State. Amb. Amayo noted that the option of inviting the representatives was the only one available with the challenge of not being able to invite all those who would have been nominated by the Diaspora body.
The High Commissioner informed that the Kenyan Diaspora have been supportive and work very closely with the High Commission in implementing the Diaspora pillar of the Kenya Foreign Policy.
“However, it is our desire for the Diaspora to form an umbrella body to enable structured engagement with the Kenyan Government” he noted.
Ambassador Amayo reiterated that there is a large Diaspora community in the UK which is well represented not only in the private sector but also in the Government. He gave an example of members of the Kenyan Diaspora who have been recognized by Her Majesty’s Government for their impressive work as well those who have been elected to political posts including Councillors in the UK. He exuded confidence that Kenyans will have representation even in the two Houses in future.
The Kenyan Diaspora representatives Cllr Kangethe, Dr. Langat, Mr. Shiundu and Mr. Eddie Njenga who spoke during the evening meeting elucidated some of the great works they are undertaking in the UK to promote Kenya. They reiterated their support for the Kenyan Government and called for the implementation of policies that would help in improving the standards of living of all Kenyans.