Kenyan Minister asked to summon US envoy

July 15, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 15 – A group of Members of Parliament opposed to the proposed Constitution want the US ambassador summoned by the government to explain America’s role in the Kenyan review process.

The nine lawmakers want Ambassador Michael Ranneberger to explain why he is involved in the push for enactment of a new Constitution and claims that the Obama administration has spent Sh50 million to fund the Yes campaign.

Led by Higher Education Minister William Ruto, the MPs said Mr Ranneberger should be taken to task over his conduct and that of his government, which they said are in breach of diplomatic etiquette.

“It is now obvious that what Mr Ranneberger is doing is openly bribing voters.  Some MPs have confessed to having received money from the ambassador,” Mr Ruto said.

He said the No camp was considering sending a formal protest to Washington if no action is taken.

A Republican Congressman listed a number of organisations campaigning for the draft which he claimed had received a little over Sh50 million to fund their activities.

Among the groups are the Central Organization of Trade Unions, Kenya, the Kenya Muslim Youth Alliance, Amani Peoples Theatre, the Provincial Commissioner – North Eastern and Christian Community Services among others.

Mr Ruto said the revelations and the direct involvement of the Ambassador in Yes forums confirms that his government has specific interests.

“We are telling Kenyans to be wary of the ambassador who has now turned to an activist with no manners,” he said.

Although President Barack Obama had earlier indicated that his administration does not support the government-led Yes side, his Vice President Joe Biden who was in the country last month said America was supporting a new constitutional dispensation.

Earlier in the week, Mr Ranneberger was in Kitale and Kisii where he received defectors to the Yes camp, attracting outcry from the No camp.

“The people of Kenya should be left on their own to decide whether the new Constitution meets their aspirations without interference from foreign governments,” said Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi.

“I am wondering whether the running around of Mr Ranneberger is sanctioned by the Kenya government and if so has the government abdicated its sovereignty and is now working as puppets of the foreign governments?” posed Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto.

A number of politicians, among them Musalia Mudavadi, Charity Ngilu and Eugene Wamalwa have defended Mr Ranneberger against the bashing, saying MPs usually have no problem with foreign intervention in Kenyan affairs as long as it suits them.

They argued that America was one of the nations that Kenya looked to at the height of the post-election violence and it has an interest in seeing stability in Kenya.


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