It is part of the long-term aims of Shadow Election to capture global opinions on global issues and to influence politicians to work together to solve them for the benefit of all nations. We are currently far away from being able to implement these lofty ambitions, however, as a step on that journey, we introduced the global voting map for the current Kenyan elections – and would therefore like to encourage the Kenyan diaspora to cast a vote in Shadow Election Kenya.
The Central Bank of Kenya says that 1.3 billion USD was sent back in remittances, which, with a GDP of around 41.84 billion, means that about 2.8% of Kenya's GDP is provided by the diaspora.
Currently there are about 1.5 million Kenyans registered at embassies abroad but only those in the East African Community or able to go to an embassy "in person" will be eligible to vote in the upcoming March 5th elections. This obviously severely restricts the potential number of diaspora votes.
For the IEBC (Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission) there are obviously logistical challenges in enabling more diaspora voting; however, one would hope in the next elections a country that is renowned of being able to send large amounts of money by mobile phone will be able to deliver postal or remote e-voting options.
For the time being, however, the diaspora can with minimal effort cast a virtual vote, and campaign for their preferred candidate via Shadow Election. This vote does not obviously count as a real vote, but if it can help influence the voting of friends and family back in Kenya then it could almost become a proxy vote; and at least some active engagement has been made.
We believe that the world is now so integrated that what happens politically in one country effects us all to a greater or lesser extent – be it through trade, migration, military aggression, remittances, etc Therefore it is not without relevance to see information on how other nationals view our own politicians. Shadow Election is not alone in this regard as The Economist ran a global poll on who should be the next US President in the 2012 elections, and Obama was the clear international winner.
We have never claimed to be a scientific poll but social media is increasingly being seen as another tool to gauge public opinion – as can by seen by the use of social media statistics in the Daily Nation's Kenya Elections site.
So go make your voice heard in Shadow Election Kenya!