, MOMBASA, Kenya, Nov 16 – The American government on Tuesday slapped an indefinite ban on four senior government officials and a prominent businessman from visiting the US.
US envoy Michael Ranneberger said they had revoked visas for the five over their alleged involvement in drug trafficking.
Mr Ranneberger who spoke in Mombasa said that the US government had credible information against the five, whom he declined to name.
"The US government will continue intensifying its war on drug trafficking in Kenya as the vice has reached at an alarming situation," said the envoy when he addressed members of Rotary Club of Mombasa.
Mr Ranneberger said the US would not relent in its efforts to combat the scourge of drugs, saying drug trafficking had become a culture in the Kenyan society.
As a result, the envoy announced the establishment of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration Unit in Kenya within the next several months.
He said: “The unit will be assigned to assist local authorities to combat the international trade in narcotics and to bring the traffickers to justice no matter how senior or politically well-connected they are.”
He said the US government was drafting a hard-hitting report on the narcotics situation in Kenya to be included in the International Narcotics Control Strategy Report that the Department of State will release to Congress early next year.
"For the business community, the drug trade threatens to bottom line. Traffickers often hide behind an array of legitimate businesses. These fronts don\’t actually need to make money selling computers, clothing, or cell phones, so they disrupt the market by under cutting legitimate businesses," said the ambassador.
He added that US bilateral cooperation with Kenya on counter narcotics matters is robust saying the US would continue training and equipping maritime security patrol units.
"I want to issue a call to action – a clarion call – to the poeple of Mombasa and Coast province, to their political leaders, to the Kenyan government, and to the nation of Kenya. If you are not battling against drugs, then your are complicit in their spread. It is up to you political and business leaders, civil society, village elders, young people, neighbours and friends-to do something about it. It will take the courage of many to overcome the threats and intimidation of the malignant few who traffic in these poisons," he said.