, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 9 – A US cable released by WikiLeaks on Wednesday reveals that China was supporting Kenya with military and intelligence gathering.
According to the Nairobi Embassy cable, China was said to be supplying weapons, telecommunication and computer equipment to Kenya to support its Somali policies and the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS).
“The presence of the technicians was well known throughout the NSIS and was causing some concern over the level of cooperation between the NSIS and its Chinese counterparts,” the cable revealed.
Chinese technicians were also said to be working on a project in the basement of the NSIS headquarters in March 2009.
In the details filed in February this year, US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger implied that China was exploiting Kenya through its construction projects, products and other collaborations in the country.
He alleged that China imported Chinese workers to Kenya, thus limiting the number of locals who could have benefited directly from their projects.
Mr Ranneberger said the Government of China (GOC) was being awarded Kenyan projects at very low bids which discouraged local firms from taking them up.
“This importation of labour from China tends to limit the number of Kenyans who directly benefit with wages and knowledge transfer from the projects. The low Chinese bids on major projects also push local firms out of the process, especially in infrastructure areas where capacity building of local firms would be useful,” he said.
The ambassador further alleged that China was highly involved in smuggling of ivory from Kenya saying 90 percent of ivory smugglers arrested at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport were Chinese nationals.
While he thought it was appropriate for Kenya to include China in its donor list, he said Kenya has been adamant on the issue.
He said China’s interests in Kenya should be cautiously observed as the country was not even interested in its own reform agenda.
“The GOC has been silent on the implementation of the reform agenda, which we consider essential to Kenya’s future stability and prosperity; the GOC turns a blind eye to the flooding of the Kenyan market with Chinese counterfeit goods,” he said.
He also expressed fears that China would even position itself deeper in Kenya with possibilities of oil and gas resources being found in the East African country.
He also said it was an opportunity for Kenya to work more closely with China than his government citing the US government’s pressure on the government to implement the reform agenda.
“We expect China’s engagement in Kenya to continue to grow given Kenya’s strategic location. If oil or gas is found in Kenya, this engagement will likely grow even faster. Kenya’s leadership may be tempted to move even closer to China in an effort to shield itself from Western, and principally U.S,” Mr Ranneberger said.