Kenyan Ministers defend US envoy

July 14, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 14 – American ambassador Michael Ranneberger has received the support of several politicians over his stand on the proposed Constitution.

Those who spoke in favour of the US envoy include Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, Water and Irrigation Minister Charity Ngilu and Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa who is the deputy chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Mr Mudavadi said the American envoy is entitled to his opinion and that those stating otherwise are not sincere.

"When you go into that polling station, normally you go while having a voter\’s card and the decision is ultimately yours as an individual. I think we are making hot air out of nothing.  I do not think it is interference. When politicians talk, don\’t they always try to influence people in one way or the other? Is it guaranteed that what they say is what you will do?" he wondered.

Mrs Ngilu asserted that the same individuals critical of the envoy\’s stand on the proposed law were the same who rushed to foreign missions at the height of the disputed 2007 polls to seek external intervention.

"Why do people like William Ruto now find it unreasonable for the US envoy to take an interest in Kenyan matters?  America understands the pain Kenya went through at the height of the post-election chaos, and must have an interest in local affairs," she said.

Mr Wamalwa said the affront on the envoy and the American government by Mr Ruto "is most unfortunate and is a clear breach of proper diplomatic etiquette.

He added: "The President (Kibaki) welcomed US involvement in the reform agenda during (Joe) Biden\’s recent visit. How can the Minister openly contradict the President on our foreign policy and go as far as attacking the President of America through falsehoods and propaganda?"

On Tuesday, Mr Ranneberger met with defectors from the No camp in Kisii where he insisted he was not taking sides in the ongoing campaigns on the proposed Constitution.

The American envoy said his government wanted Kenyans to understand the proposed Constitution before the August 4 vote.

"The US government has made it very clear that we support the reform process and that putting in place a new Constitution is the centre-piece of that reform process," he stated. "President Barack Obama has spoken about this and he has called it \’A singular opportunity to bring about change in Kenya\’."

Mr Ranneberger spoke in Gucha where he met pastors, religious leaders, and some members of the local No secretariat who defected to the Yes camp.

The No camp has protested Mr Ranneberger\’s latest move accusing him of openly meddling in Kenya\’s internal affairs.

But on Wednesday, Mr Mudavadi expressed confidence in Kenyans making their decision of choice during the forthcoming referendum.

"We have come very far and well educated. The Kenyan society is very democratised to such an extent to the extent that they will know what to say and they will let you have your say but they will have their way," he stated.

He appealed to Kenyans to ensure they vote according to their conscience without being swayed by anybody.


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