Kenya President and PM to send away US envoy
This is only the second time since Independence for Kenya to demand the recall of an envoy. The first was during the old Kanu regime of former President Daniel Moi, when another US Ambassador, Smith Hempstone, rubbed the Government the wrong way.
Sources say the US had already anticipated the move, and scenarios for replacing Ranneberger were drawn up immediately WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange announced plans to unload secret cables from US embassies around the world.
Kenya is considered critical to US policies in fighting terrorist cells in the Horn of Africa, and the Americans are keen to quickly restore goodwill with the Government.
However, the sources added that any change in ambassadors is unlikely to reduce the pressure by the US on Kenya over constitutional reforms and corruption.
President Kibaki has already called an emergency Cabinet meeting on Monday to discuss Ranneberger’s conduct.
Setting the ball rolling was Raila, who told the crowd attending the 47th Jamhuri Day celebrations that Kenya does not deserve people masquerading as friends during the day, but turning into enemies at night.
Said Raila: “Somebody is conducting himself in our country as if he is a governor. The last governor (Malcom John MacDonald) left Kenya in 1964 and all those serving here should know that there is a Government of the people of Kenya.”
The PM further hit out at foreigners who were not genuine in their dealings with the government.
“If you are a visitor and true friend stay with us in an honest manner and that it should not be during the day you wear one hat and night you wear another,” he added
Raila further cautioned the youth against being lured by foreign funding to betray their motherland.
“To our youth they must be proud of being Kenyans and not as boot lickers to the foreigners,” an agitated Raila added.
Monday’s meeting follows sustained condemnation of Ranneberger by both PNU and ODM ministers since Thursday last week, when one of WikiLeaks’ media partners, The Guardian, released the first of thousands of damning cables on Kenya.
ON Sunday, the ambassador came under stinging attack from President Kibaki and Raila, while Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka asked him to respect Kenyans.
Kibaki and Raila claimed he was out to destabilise the country’s leadership. Ranneberger’s seat remained unoccupied throughout celebrations at the Nyayo stadium.
Kibaki dared the schemers to try and topple his leadership, promising they would face the full force of his administration.
Said Kibaki: “They cannot threaten us, they better try elsewhere. We are firmly in charge of our country’s affairs’.
President Kibaki said some of the foreign missions, which he did not name, were using huge sums of money to confuse some Kenyans as they plotted to discredit his government.
“Those who have lived here know we cannot be threatened. If somebody thinks he can threaten us they better try elsewhere,” said the President who broke from his tradition of first reading his official speech before making off-the-cuff remarks.
Raila had also lashed out at foreign missions, mainly the US, for underrating Kenyan leaders.
Using the analogy of a chicken with its eyes covered, Raila avoided naming the US envoy directly.
Speaking in both Kiswahili and English, an angry Kibaki said any attempt to use American aid under the Youth Empowerment Program to incite the youth against his Government would fail.
“Someone thinks if he has some small money and gives it to some youth, he will overthrow the Government, No way!” he added.
“We are liberated and nobody will intimidate us,” he added.
And as if the Head of State was not done, as soon as he concluded his official statement, he was at it again.
Kibaki said there were three or four people going around talking ill of the country, and they would not be tolerated.
“They come and give us their money, but they are pretending to be our friends. That is a visitor and those who don’t know they must be told that he shall go away and we shall remain here,” he added.
The President also said through the 47 counties, Kenyans would now have to view the new systems created crucial focal points of governance and service delivery.
The President said each county should seek to attain industrialisation and urbanisation. He challenged leaders in each county to set a side land for the establishment of the county headquarters and new industries.
On the slow pace of implementation of the constitution Kibaki said “We do appreciate that there will be challenges in the process of implementing the Constitution. As a Government, we are committed to engaging in consultation and dialogue for the sake of our nation.”
He directed the Commissioner of Police and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission to promptly deal with leaders found engaging in hate speech.
Raila said Kenyans had done their part by voting for the new Constitution and that now the challenge was in the hands of MPs.
He, however, assured the nation that the MPs would not derail the process.
“There is no need for anybody to think that the new constitution will be stalled by MPs in parliament. We will implement the new law” he assured.(The Standard)