Deputy President William Ruto has started his 2022 presidential campaign in earnest now shifting his attention to Kenyans in the diaspora.
On Sunday, Ruto engaged a group of Kenyans in the US, Australia, South Africa and the Middle East virtually.
This came hot on the heels of putting together a high-powered economic think tank team led by personnel who were in retired President Mwai Kibaki’s administration.
One of his promises to the diaspora community was that he would put together a dedicated ministry to look after Kenyans abroad.
During the session, he promised to create a full-fledged ministry that will be dedicated to diaspora matters.
“It is time we had a fully dedicated ministry for diaspora just like the way we have a ministry for devolution. The ministry will be addressing all the challenges facing Kenyans in every part of the world,” the DP said according to the Star.
“We recognise the critical and huge contribution — both economically and intellectually — that Kenyans in the diaspora make in the development of our country,” he stated.
Ruto said that taking to account foreign income from the diaspora community every year, there is a need to set up a dedicated ministry.
For a while now, different stakeholders within the diaspora have been pushing for the creation of a docket mainly dealing with Kenyans in the diaspora.
At the moment, all diaspora affairs are handled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Data by the State indicates that there are an estimated three million Kenyans in the diaspora.
Besides the setting up of a ‘Diaspora ministry’, Ruto will push for a policy where a benevolent fund will be established to condole families whose kind die abroad.
Ruto also pledged to abolish “visa and passport regime” which is daunting for many Kenyans abroad.
It will streamline immigration services for Kenyans who have to travel for long distances to seek these services.
Also, Ruto’s would-be government will include Kenyans in the diaspora on the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) and National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
Some of the Kenyans from the diaspora challenged Ruto to also reform the electoral agency to ensure Kenyans abroad exercise their democratic right by voting.
“My question to you honourable Deputy President is that in your position today, is it possible to invite Safaricom and other telco companies to collaborate with the IEBC in making this a reality for the diaspora community outside Africa?” Antony Thuo based in Boston posed.