NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 26 – Former President Daniel arap Moi’s personal aide Joshua Kulei on Thursday said a purported travel ban against him by US authorities is inconsequential.,
Mr Kulei, in a statement issued by his lawyer Katwa Kigen, says he pities US envoy Michael Ranneberger because neither he (Kulei) nor his family feel punished in any way by being barred from America. He has clarified that he has not applied to travel to the US and is happy and content as a resident and national of the Republic of Kenya.
“Neither he nor his family has most recently applied to travel and/or invest in the USA. There was no reason for the Ambassador to purport that our client had been denied opportunity to travel to US,” the statement read in part. “The Ambassador’s announcement is therefore in vain.”
Mr Kulei has also denied involvement in corruption and post election violence and instead accuses the ambassador of seeking cheap publicity by acting like a ‘prefect of the Republic of Kenya’.
He wonders why the ambassador said the person banned was a government official yet he should be aware that Mr Kulei left public service seven years ago.
Mr Ranneberger had about two weeks ago announced his government’s proclamation against a senior Kenyan government official but refused to name the individual basing it on US privacy regulations. However on Tuesday he named Mr Kulei as the said banned individual during an interview on a local TV station.
"Due to US regulations regarding protection of privacy, we will not name the person. The person will soon be notified regarding the ineligibility," Mr Ranneberger had said during his proclamation.
He had said the proclamation can be used to extend ineligibility to the spouses and children of the barred individual.
In the elaborate statement touching on the growing culture of impunity in Kenya, Mr Ranneberger had also warned that more influential individuals would be banned from travelling to the US.
He said an unnamed number of personalities were under investigation for involvement in – or being beneficiaries of – corruption. So far 13 Kenyans have been slapped with a travel ban.
“He is neither in the public service nor is he a public official. Our client has no connections or close links to any leader or leaders in the Grand Coalition Government to warrant an accusation of corruption, impunity and or violence by association in the least,” Mr Kigen said in the statement.
The lawyer said the ambassador’s announcements are neither consistent nor made in good faith.
“They are made for the sake of cheap publicity and the ego of an idle diplomat at the end of his career arrogating and assigning himself the role of a prefect and a supervisor of Kenyan citizens and Kenyan institutions,” the statement said.
He also questions why the ambassador keeps on changing the status of the banned official from politician to government official to an individual: “If the ambassador had made effort to ascertain his facts there would be no senile allegation of that erroneous and misleading statement. It is a norm that previous US envoys have always verified their facts before going public.”
He terms the ambassador a hired mercenary who is out to help his friends in political re-alignment for the 2012 election.
“Mr Ranneberger has abandoned the cause of USA and has re-directed his energies to take sides in the Kenyan current and future politics. Our client shall hope that the ambassador’s overdue stay in Kenya will be noticed in his deploying country and invited to much needed (albeit undeserved) retirement,” the statement added.
He wants Mr Ranneberger to waive his diplomatic immunity if his allegations are true so that they can meet in a court of law.
“The conduct and utterances of Michael Ranneberger are outside his call of duty and is appalling misuse of diplomatic immunity to orchestrate and propagate falsehoods in the circumstances that the victims of the falsehoods have no avenue to defend themselves or cause him to take personal responsibility by facing a cause for defamation,” the statement continued.
“Mr Ranneberger’s conduct is in bad taste, theatrical, less than hones, is perverse and cowardly.”