Sunday, April 26, 2009
US AMBASSADOR IN KENYA MR. RANNERBERGER SHOULD STICK TO HIS "OFFICIAL" DUTIES. HE SHOULD LEAVE US ALONE
It has not passed a week before it was reported that Molo MP Joseph Kiuna accused the US ambassador in Kenya Michael Ranneberger of visiting his Molo constituency in the Rift Valley without his knowledge accusing the US envoy and some NGOs of "criss-crossing" his constituency in the name of peace building. Just around One month ago, Former President Moi’s aide Joshua Kulei Kulei had a problem again with the US Ambassador arguing that Ranneberger(The US Ambassador) is using his diplomatic immunity to propagate falsehoods in Kenya by saying:
"Ranneberger’s conduct is in bad taste, theatrical, less than honest, pervasive and cowardly," while admitting that the US envoy had abandoned the US cause and redirected his energies to taking sides in Kenya’s politics. Kulei had even dared the envoy to waive his diplomatic immunity if his allegations had merit and face him in court.
This week, it was our time for people of NEP. It was reported by BBC Somali that Kenya's Deputy Speaker, Farah Maalim has been refused a US Visa to travel to United States by the US Embassy, a fact that Hon Farah himself denies ever requesting a visa to travel there, but then, you tend to ask, what happened to the US Ambassador of Kenya official roles and why is he interfereing in our state of affairs....?
A short reminder
If it's about leasure and holidays and Mr. Rannerberger thinks US is somewhere people go for nice travel and holidays, Kulei had reminded him that US Citizens, Europeans and others travel to Kenya for holidays and even indicated that he was not interested in travelling to America with or without a visa ban. While Hon Farah may share the same theme as previously Martha Karua once described, America is not heaven....The question remains, what is the official duty of foreign embassies in Kenya...Why are they trying to cause issues when there are no issues at all....
Speaking in Nairobi once, Kiuna, The Molo MP said protocol dictated that before officials(Local+Foreign) who visit his constituency, they should inform him. He said: "I deserve to know who is coming to my territory and for what reason. That’s just but courtesy. Even when the President visits Molo he has the courtesy to tell me." It could be wise, if the ambassador followed laid down protocols of the country and helped unite the communities by involving the person they elected to the parliament. Otherwise, what does he gain without Kiuna's Involvement in his own constituency?
Sometime back, The presense of US Marines in North Eastern province of Kenya has been questioned by Hon Farah Maalim (Lagdera, ODM) asking the Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetang’ula to clarify whether the 80 marines in his constituency were doing more than drilling boreholes for the residents. Mr Maalim, who is also the deputy Speaker in the Kenyan National Assembly and whose constituency he is representing and where the activities were taking place wanted to know what the marines are doing there. He said the marines had been in the arid area for over a year and had not succeeded in getting water for the residents.
What are they supposed to be doing there, he asked? Are they depositing Nuclear wastes there?
The ODM MP asked whether the marines were there to bury nuclear waste. He accused the marines of operating under a lot of secrecy, saying that local leaders, including the provincial administration and councillors were in the dark about the activities of the US soldiers. It was then, that former Justice minister Martha Karua, who was by then, the deputy leader of Government Business, gave an undertaking to communicate the request for a ministerial statement to Mr Wetang’ula. We are still waiting for a formal communication from Wetangula, which until now was not sufficiently dealt with. Rumours are rife about US Marines missions in NEP kenya. Some residents are convinced that the marines are "polluting" the vast arid area with nuclear wastes while pretending they are drilling boreholes. Hon Farah Maalim had asked (in parliament) Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetang'ula to clarify whether the US marines in his constituency were doing more than drilling boreholes for the residents.. He accused the marines of operating under a lot of secrecy, saying that local leaders, including the provincial administration and councillors were in the dark about the activities of the US soldiers and asked whether the marines were there to bury nuclear waste.
The return of United States marines in North Eastern Province has raised eyebrows among the local Somali Muslims amid fears that the province is likely to be used as the launching pad for the wider war on terror, albeit covered in the clothes of humanitarian assistance. Their unexpected arrival in a convoy of trucks with sophisticated military and engineering equipment had previously caused a stir in Garissa town.
"We thought we had seen the last of them when they left the province late 2004 after completing the humanitarian projects," said Mr Hussein Issa, a Garissa branch Narc chairman. "Now that they are back, it seems they have a special attachment to Northern Kenya — probably due to its proximity to Somalia," he added.
Political analyst say, it looks that some of these issues may have led to the rumours that Hon. Farah Maalim must have developed some bad blood with the US Operations in and around Kenya and that is part of the "supposed" refusal of the US Visa.... But this should not worry NEP or kenyan citizens residing over there. It should worry the US even more. Residents are construing to mean that, because Hon. Farah spoke about their activities, the US is punishing him for that and this will not be taken easily in that area.
Although the US Counter-Terrorism operations is helping residents of the vast province, The last time the marines were in town, the Government was forced to publicly declare their mission after the predominantly Muslim residents ejected them from a Garissa hotel. The rare spectacle when the Americans landed in town caused commotion as hordes of curious residents milled around the Garissa Kenya Military Barracks, where the marines have made temporary base. In one incident, the marines were forced to abandon medical and veterinary services to the residents.There were claims that their drugs could cause infertility. The residents feared that the drugs were meant to reduce and subsequently wipe out the Muslim community.The propaganda was even spread in local mosques and coffee shops. Many residents took the fears seriously and stayed away from a free medical camp at the Kenya Red Cross Society camp.
The North Eastern Provincial Commissioner, Mr Kiritu Wamae, was at times forced to call an impromptu public meeting to dispel the negative perception about the presence of the troops in town. He had on several occassion insisted that the marines were on a humanitarian mission in the region and were working in partnership with the Kenya Army officers. Wamae said the soldiers planned to drill 10 boreholes in Garissa District. We can't confirm this has been done upto date.
Thus Hon Farah Maalim's Visa refusal claim by US Embassy, it seems to residents as america's bullying tactic to silence the leader not to question the US military presence in Lagdera constituency but why deny him a simple Visa to such a valuable person in the country? Farah Maalim, the Lagdera elected member of parliament is one of the few out spoken Kenyan-Somali, who will never shy off on issues that are of national interest and has on several occasions told Kenyans to solve their problems internally while rebelling the waki report. We like him because he understand the problem afflicting people of Northern Kenya. He is one of our few important Member of Parliament. Mr Aden Abdi; a constituent from Lagdera said that the US field officer should respect our leaders if not he should advice Americans not to step a foot on Lagdera constituency without the permission of the locals.
Hon Farah Maalim had once bravely accused western countries of a conspiracy to turn Kenya into a failed State for their own "selfish" interests. He said “ before the peace deal was signed, he and a group of ODM leaders visited a diplomat of a western superpower and instead of assisting to end the violence, he told them the due process of law must be followed. US media across the Atlantic, shade more light on Mr Maalim’s sentiments. An article by Karen Rothmyer on The Nation, a US newspaper in New York, claimed that Mr Ken Flottman, who was IRI country director sat on the exit poll when Kenyans needed it most. Mr Flottman said, Ranneberger appeared to try to help Kibaki’s chances. In one case, when a poll done by a local leading pollster showed Raila pulling ahead, "the ambassador was keen to release our poll, which showed Kibaki was more popular".
It is time, our Kenyan leaders need to stand up for their democratic rights and work together to mobilize their constituents against US interventions and subsequent actions of causing further tensions within communities. Kenya is sovereign and the US Ambassador must know NEP is trying to cope with three decades marginalization and we don't need further issues that will harm our development. NEP residents and Kenyans are urged to stand firm, strong and united against these kind of arm twisting by the US and it's officials in the name of democratization. This can be counter-productive at times and especially in NEP Kenya and the US Ambassador in whose nation he is working for must know this.