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The Kenyan Diaspora and Their Right to Vote: Is it a Reality or Mirage under the New Constitution

13 Pages Posted: 24 May 2011  

Alfred Oseko Nyanchoka

Date Written: May 20, 2011


The right to vote is recognized by most world democracies as a fundamental right that enables citizens to influence decision-making within government. Many democracies have put in place systems to ensure that this right is fully realized and enjoyed by its qualifying citizens but at varying degrees. Despite its significance, many countries in the world only allow the enjoyment of this right by citizens living within its sovereign boundaries. The diaspora is not allowed to enjoy this right courtesy of the existing law or by tradition. In recent times, the right to vote for the diaspora is gaining recognition. In Kenya, the now repealed Constitution did not provide for a right to vote for its citizens within the country let alone the diaspora. The inequity of the old Constitution including its failure to guarantee the right to vote occasioned a debate and desire to overhaul the constitution. The constitution making debates surrounded the issue of the right to vote by the diaspora and dual citizenship. The constitutional making journey in Kenya started at independence and has consistently reflected the desire for guaranteeing the right to vote for the people. A new draft was done by a Committee of Experts on Constitutional Review appointed to spearhead the constitution making process. After several consultations with the public the committee came up with an Harmonized Draft Constitution. The Draft was adopted by the public in a second referendum held on the 4th of August 2010 and promulgated in the 27th August 2010. This article interrogates the provisions of this Constitutional to establish the extent to which it provides for the right to vote for the diaspora.

Keywords: Diaspora, constitution, right to vote, citizens

Suggested Citation

Nyanchoka, Alfred Oseko, The Kenyan Diaspora and Their Right to Vote: Is it a Reality or Mirage under the New Constitution (May 20, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Alfred Nyanchoka (Contact Author) ( email )

po box 100052-00100
Nairobi, AK Nairobi 254

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