Parliamentarian Proposes Diaspora MP Seat for Kenyans Living Abroad

Saboti MP Caleb Hamisi has proposed the creation of a diaspora Member of Parliament position in the Kenyan Parliament.

In his memorandum to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) task force, which was formed after the handshake between President Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga, Hamisi says the role of the occupant of the diaspora MP seat would be to push for the interests of Kenyans living and working abroad.

Hamisi says the diaspora MP would help address key issues affecting Kenyans abroad such as visas, consular services, forced labor and kidnapping among others.

He wants Parliament to enact legislation to determine the eligibility of persons vying to represent about three million Kenyans living in the diaspora.

Hamisi wants Kenya to follow the route taken by other countries including France, Iraq, Algeria, Cape Verde, South Africa, and Mozambique, who have diaspora MPs.

For instance, as at 2015, France had 12 out of 300 MPs representing its diaspora population, Iraq has 10 out of 300 MPs, Algeria and Cape Verde have six each while South Africa and Mozambique have two each.

Other countries such as India, Nigeria, Georgia, Togo, and Senegal have a diaspora ministry separate from the foreign affairs ministry.

Hamisi will verbally present his proposal at a BBI taskforce forum at Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi on Thursday.

A bulk of Kenyan diaspora population (600,000) is based in the United States, 300,000 in the United Kingdom, about 200,000 in Canada, 100,000 in the United Arab Emirates and 800,000 in both South Africa and Sudan. Others are scattered in other countries across the six continents.

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