US envoy irks Kenyan MPs

July 15, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 14 – Six Members of Parliament in the No camp are demanding the recall of American ambassador Michael Ranneberger over what they call political interference.

Speaking at the Parliament media centre on Wednesday, Makueni MP Peter Kiilu questioned why Mr Ranneberger has been going round the country campaigning for the proposed Constitution completely oblivious of his role as the US envoy.

"Mr Ranneberger’s behaviour is demeaning, wanting and hinges on acts of a political activist that does not befit the status of a diplomat. If he cannot play his diplomatic role we demand his immediate recall by his government to allow him to play a political activist’s role in his country," he said.

The MPs said Kenya is a sovereign country that should be able to deal with its issues without outside interference from foreign countries.

Mosop MP David Koech said the No team was convinced that the proposed Constitution had contentious clauses that need amendment before Kenyans usher a new constitutional dispensation.

"The US is a country which has the highest number of classified information than any country in the whole world, why Mr Ranneberger is encouraging Kenyans to pass a document that is going to open the secrets of Kenya to the world, I cannot understand,” he said.

The US Ambassador has recently come under scathing attack for allegedly interfering with the Kenyan constitutional review process.

Those in the No camp especially the church leaders and a section of politicians have alleged that the US ambassador has been promised to aid MPs develop their constituencies if they campaign for the contentious proposed Constitution.

However, the U.S. said it was supporting the constitutional review process as the centerpiece of the broad reform agenda agreed to after the post-election crisis.

Higher Education Minister William Ruto, has often said those in support of the proposed Constitution were in agreement with them that the document was bad but were simply yielding to foreign pressure.

The No team has been campaigning on the grounds that the proposed Constitution had contentious clauses that need amendment before Kenyans usher a new constitutional dispensation.

The No team say that Kenyans long wait for a Constitution must be guided by the enactment of a new one does not hold any water with such ambiguity.

He said: "the fact that Kenyans had yearned for a new Constitution for 20 years was no reason for the country to accept a faulty one in desperation."

The MPs accused Mr Ranneberger of going behind the back of politicians opposed to the proposed Constitution and inciting people against them citing a case in Kitale where it is said he promised the youth foreign aid and received defector from the No team.

The American envoy has however maintained that the US will not influence voting during Kenya’s second constitutional referendum to be held on August 4, but looks forward to helping the country achieve her reform agenda.


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