Kenyan MPs seek to expel US envoy

December 22, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 22 – MPs began debate on a Motion seeking to censure the US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger demanding for his recall. It was a Motion that began on a heated note with tempers flaring and accusations of impropriety flying.

The House turned into a shouting match between members supporting and those opposing the move to censure Mr Ranneberger, and Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto was forced to retract allegations that some of those opposed to the Motion were on American payroll.

Gichugu MP Martha in response claimed that the Motion may have been sponsored by those in the Ocampo list of suspects on post election violence.

The Gichugu MP while opposing told members that the country is having misplaced priorities by targeting individuals.

"Parliament had degenerated into an undignified House and the greatest auction house in Africa!" she said.

Ms Karua was ordered out of the morning sitting after she refused to withdraw her statements and apologise to the House. The claims raised uproar as MPs demanded that she substantiates or withdraws the remarks, which however she adamantly refused.

MPs David Koech, Isaac Ruto, Elizabeth Ongoro among others have accused Mr Ranneberger of misconduct because of his activities in the country.

The Motion introduced by Imenti North MP Silas Ruteere seeks to discuss the envoy’s conduct on claims that he has breached the privileges and immunities granted by the country.

The US ambassador has been on the spotlight in recent weeks over a number of actions and utterances regarding the state of affairs in the country.

Mr Ranneberger first ran into trouble last month after whistle-blower website WikiLeaks released cables he wrote to his superiors in Washington, describing Kenya as flourishing swamp of corruption.

Lari MP David Njuguna while seconding the Motion urged the US government to provide the Air Force one presidential jet to deport Ranneberger and replace him with a more patriotic American and partner.

Foreign Affairs Assistant Minister Richard Onyonka however cautioned that discussing the conduct of a diplomat who represents a friendly country was not in order.

He was supported by Ms Karua who claimed that it was not within Parliament’s mandate to discuss the conduct of a diplomat.

"There exists structures and modalities that the government can pursue if it is dissatisfied with the ambassador\’s conduct, " she said.

She accused Parliament of hitting at the wrong target urging MPs to prioritise debate on the Motions that would see the smooth implementation of the Constitution. She concurred with Mr Ranneberger`s verdict on Kenya as a swamp of corruption saying she resigned from government owing to rising levels of graft.


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