Kenyans have come of age to take political and other forms of leadership in whichever country they live in, especially in the United States where they make significant contribution to the socio-economic and political spheres, according to the President and Founder of the East African Business Network, based in Dallas, Texas, formerly known as the East African Chamber of Commerce.
Benson Kasue, also the pioneer chairman of the Kenya Diaspora Advisory Council, says time had come for Kenyans in the US to take advantage of their numbers to try and seize political leadership by offering themselves for elective positions at the grassroots to the national level.
Speaking in an exclusive interview ahead of the 18th EABN Annual Trade Conference to be held in Dallas, Kasue further called on the Kenyan government to prioritize diaspora matters within the public service as a way of appreciating the immense contribution made by those who live in the United States and other countries, from where they remit more than KSh400 billion annually.
“That is not little money and we have to take advantage of the numbers we have because numbers don’t lie,” Kasue told Kurunzi News Managing Editor Milton Nyakundi, counseling against the “think small” mentality.
“When you think small, you miss the opportunity,” quipped Kasue, who is a tax expert based in Texas and has lived in the US since the mid 80s.
“If you look at Dallas, we have a very good population of Kisiis, very big population of Kikuyus, Luos, Kambas and of Kalenjins. Each of those groups have their own group and they value that group more than the bigger group (of Kenyans). And that is the beginning of the failure.
“A small group of Kisiis, Kikuyus, Kalenjins meeting somewhere to discuss to benefit them only is so small because they cannot have any progressive ideas because they are a small grouping which is like a drop in the ocean.
“But if those groups came together and said let us do Kenya. Let’s say tunajivunia kuwa Wakenya (we are proudly Kenyan) then we are going to make an impact here in Texas as a Kenyan block we are going to support somebody.
“(For instance) The mayor of Dallas only won by 1,200 votes, very few votes. Yet there are a lot of Kenyans in Dallas that are citizens of this country but they don’t vote, more than 10,000 that if we put one out there then we will that seat.”
The convention is the flagship event of the EABN, originally founded as the East African Chamber of Commerce, with the aim of promoting trade and investment between the East African Community and the rest of the world to improve the quality of life for everyone.
EABN was formally established as a 501c(6) non-profit ‘business league’ by business women and men who invest, trade, mentor and coach throughout the entire EAC and around the world to improve the lives and livelihoods of the many diaspora communities collaborating.
Over the years, the organization has proven to be a growth and transformation vehicle, emphasizing the importance of business networking commitment to promote trade and investment between the diaspora communities of EAC and the rest of the world.
“Our work centers around introducing and promoting providers, suppliers, investors, manufactures, producers and all other roles in myriad supply chain communities across all industries to each other in order to build and expand sustainable trade with honor, dignity and education on ‘best practices’,” Elsa Juko-McDowell – the EABN Chairperson, is quoted by the EABN official website.
“Our work reaches far beyond traditional chamber mandates, thus we are pivoting our brand to match the higher calling of simply, socially good business networking for all those wishing to join us is this fresh and expanded journey. Every individual matters and is valued in our network.”