Raila hits out at US over WikiLeaks

December 10, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 10 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has hit back at the US over its leaked secret cables that described him and President Kibaki as anti reformists.

Speaking to the BBC on Friday morning, Mr Odinga who jetted back to the country from Cancun, Mexico dismissed US ambassador Michael Ranneberger as a chatterbox.

Listen here:

“Sometimes Ranneberger speaks too much and carelessly. He lives in Kenya (but) he is a visitor. If he wants to advise us, he is free to do so but we want visitors to respect us. Mr Ranneberger is not Kenyan and Kenya is not a colony of his country!” he said.

In a secret cable from Nairobi to Washington early this year, Mr Rannerberger had said the President and Prime Minister were part of the old guard that was frustrating reforms in Kenya.

But Mr Odinga said reforms in the country shall be spearheaded by Kenyans and not foreigners.

“We cannot accept a visitor to come to our country to tell us he wants to bring changes, (Kwani yeye ni nani. Na baba ya babu yake na babu ya baba yake ni nani na alitoka wapi katika Kenya?) Who is he? Who is the father of his grandfather and the grandfather of his father and what part of Kenya do they come from?” he queried in Kiswahili.

In a separate statement later on Friday, the Premier also hit out at the whistleblower WikiLeaks website, saying it is a deplorable breach of certain aspects of common human decency.

He said it should have considered the potential hazardous implications of releasing confidential information obtained illegally.

“One would have expected that even with the kind of technological advancements that have  made it possible to live and share in a world that is almost seamless, we are all still enjoined to acts of  responsibility and restraint even when we have access to certain types of information,” he said in a statement.

“One would therefore have hoped that the WikiLeaks, in spite of its philosophy and commitment to a world without any government secrets, can weigh and realise the potentially hazardous implications of reckless and unfettered release of information, especially when it has been obtained illegally. To act responsibly in such situations would not  in my view, really imply that  we do not subscribe to the fundamental rights and  freedoms of access to information as are now widely recognised internationally and indeed affirmed in Kenya’s  new Constitution.”

The PM admitted that “the whole saga surrounding these WikiLeaks also therefore underlie an incredibly significant development in human affairs in the world today. In particular, let it be known and appreciated by Kenyans, that  in today’s world, all those things that we do under the cover of darkness in the hope that they shall, so remain, unknown as ‘secrets’ must at some point bubble out and be known.”

Mr Odinga said the cables are also coming at a time when Kenyans are squarely confronted with some of the very untoward secrets of its own national past.

He urged Kenyans not to be unduly distracted, let alone believe everything being said or disclosed from these leakages.

WikiLeaks has indicated that it has close to 2,000 cables on Kenya which emanated from US Embassy in Nairobi.


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