USA: Kenyans in the US are becoming sceptical about their chances of voting in the 2012 General Election.

They accuse the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission of not doing enough to ensure they take part.

A US-based group, the Kenya Diaspora Vote, is launching a petition on Thursday to gather online signatures seeking assurances from the Kenyan government that they are not denied their constitutional right to vote.

Mr Peter Kerre, who is spearheading the push, said the aim is to call on the government to avoid implementing measures that will curtail a free and fair process.

He said the petition can be found on the GoPetition website here.

In March, Mr Kerre organised a protest against Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka's visit to the UN to request the Security Council for a deferral of the International Criminal Court cases facing the Ocampo Six.

In a related development, two Kenyan lawyers in the US said a recent trip by the IEBC only heightened fears.

Mr Henry Ongeri of Minnesota and Ms Regina Njogu of Washington DC said they were concerned at the slow pace at which a framework to allow the Diaspora to vote was being laid out.

Mr Ongeri said a proposal that Kenyans could vote at the embassy in Washington DC and at consulates in New York and California was akin to disenfranchisement.

"The proposal would be expensive for Kenyans not residing near the embassy and consulates," Mr Ongeri said.

"Kenyans back home only have to walk a short distance to the polling station," he said.

He said Kenyans living in the many parts of the US could spend $800 (Sh68,000) each on airfare, accommodation, food and lost income if they were to travel to vote.

Mr Kerre and Mr Ongeri also rejected a proposal that ambassadors be appointed returning officers, saying they are political appointees.

"There are tens of thousands of us here. The government can choose voting officers among us," Mr Kerre said.

Ms Njogu complained about the "snail's pace at which the IEBC is moving."

"The short time we have remaining to the elections will not be sufficient to ensure Kenyans who have acquired foreign citizenship will have their applications to regain their Kenyan citizenship adjudicated on time," Ms Njogu said.

Source:  Antony Karanja,