MANY MORE COMING…WILL THIS HELP END IMPUNITY?
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson held a flurry of meetings Monday with senior Kenyan officials and then announced a travel ban had been issued against one unnamed prominent official for impeding key government reforms. Three others are under threat to have their visas similarly revoked.
A month ago Carson sent letters to 15 Kenyan officials threatening action if they did not begin instituting the government reforms. The American ambassador to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger, had announced that some of those issued the letters would soon be barred from traveling into the United States.
The assistant secretary said that the U.S. would continue pushing for progress on reforms adding that President Obama’s position is clear and will steadily increase pressure for implementation and will not do business as usual with those who do not support reform or who support violence. US at the same time will recognize and support implementation of reforms when they are undertaken.
The so-called reform agenda was a core component of the negotiations reached between now-President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga after the incumbent, Mr. Kibaki, was controversially declared the winner of the disputed December 2007 elections. Carson commended recent progress made on the police reforms and anti-corruption fronts, praising the sacking of police head Hussein Ali and expressing satisfaction with parliament’s role in forcing out re-appointed anti-corruption chief Aaron Ringera.
But the assistant secretary said that the United States was not happy with the pace of reforms in prosecuting the organizers of political violence, overhauling the judiciary, strengthening the rule of law, and creating a new constitution. He blamed slow paperwork for the reason that only one individual has been issued with the ban, saying that the visa revocation process was moving forward on the other targeted persons. He said that the identity of the affected individual will likely be revealed in a short period of time.
Carson described Kenya as the United States’ “strongest partner and friend in East Africa.” This is the senior diplomat’s third visit to Nairobi since taking the position in May this year.
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