Deputy President William Ruto has set his sights on voters living abroad to boost his chances in next year’s presidential race.
The Star has established the DP is strategizing to capture the diaspora vote, considered Kenya’s 48th county and a possible swing vote.
Ruto’s think tanks are plotting to have Kenyans in Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia and America cast their votes for the DP.
This would only be possible if the IEBC approves setting up voting centers outside the East Africa Community.
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In 2017, diaspora voters were restricted to East Africa. Slightly more than 3,000 registered to vote.
On Saturday, a 14-member campaign secretariat leading the Ruto campaigns in North America was introduced.
The team will be coordinated from Nairobi by campaign strategist and management consultant Eliud Owalo.
It will comprise four representatives from eight regional chapters in North America, referred to as the National Governing Council.
The team is chaired by Daniel Sambu, deputized by David Okoth and Kennedy Karanja (secretary general).
Other members of the secretariat who will mobilize resources for the DP include Paul Muite, Prestige Kiarie, Abraham Kirwa, Sebastian Gaitho, Acquillahs Muteti, Sarah Buyaki, Hiuko Ngari, Anwar Sadat and Samuel Cheraisi.
Lister Nyaringo and Dorcas Ndambuki will lead the team’s media liaison and publicity coordination.
In a press statement on Sunday, Nyarigo said the team will be the focal point for building campaign synergy with other diaspora groups in Canada, Europe, the Middle East and several African countries.
“The Kenyan diaspora will soon release a policy paper on diaspora engagements, especially on representation and remittances. It will enhance the bottom-up economic model, which is the centrepiece clarion for Ruto’s economic emancipation for Kenya,” Nyarigo said.
The “Diaspora Hustler Movement” leadership will cover, New England, New Jersey, New York, Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis, Boston, Seattle, Atlanta, and Ontario, Canada.
The Diaspora Hustler Movement will coordinate the DP’s resource mobilisation, publicity, and campaign strategies.
The team will also popularise the United Democratic Alliance party in the diaspora and within the country, Nyarigo said.
Nyarigo said the Kenyan diaspora “believes that the economy can be tailored to spur the standard of life to the entire citizenry”.
This can be done through the creation of jobs, skill training, rural development, affordable housing, and access to micro-credits services to boost small businesses.
“If implemented, this model will tremendously lift citizens at the bottom ladder economically, hence, bail them out of poverty,” he said.
Nyarigo said there is too much goodwill towards Ruto’s presidential bid.
“As always, a true campaign starts with interaction, connectivity, bonding, and the creation of impact on the ground,” he said.
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