Kenyans Dismiss Foreign Minister's Summon of U.S. Ambassador
By Peter Clottey
29 September 2009
Kenyans have overwhelmingly rejected foreign minister Moses Wetengula's summons of the United States Ambassador over U.S. warning to issue travel bans against some government officials seen to be obstructing much needed reforms.
A poll conducted by Kenya's television networks shows 82 percent of Kenyans are sharply against the summons of Ambassador Michael Ranneberger.
But the coalition government expressed strong displeasure with the letters which threatened to ban 15 officials if they fail to support reforms.
Gitobu Imanyara, a Kenyan lawmaker said that Kenyans have realized that their government is not interested in ascertaining the truth.
"The television networks have been giving the results of an instant poll which shows that in fact 82 percent of Kenyans agree with the position adopted by the American ambassador to Kenya," Imanyara said.
He said the foreign minister appears not to speak for Kenyans.
"Kenyans do not agree with their foreign minister. The foreign minister represents the president's views. The president's views are a very tiny portion, a very tiny minority of the opinion in this country," he said.
Over the weekend, President Mwai Kibaki protested in a letter to President Barack Obama claiming the U.S ambassador to Kenyan was "out of step" with international protocols in the conduct of relations between countries that consider each other as friends.
But Imanyara said President Kibaki's reaction is not consistent with seeking for the truth.
"The president's reaction is the best news for Kenya because it finally sets who is for what, who supports impunity, who is for ending the culture of impunity. So, let the line be drawn in the sand that the president represents what we are fighting against," Imanyara said.
He said Kenyans have shown support for the U.S ambassador.
"Kenyans look to the country in the future with identify with President Obama and the American ambassador here. As long as he speaks the voice of the president of the United States of America who we don't see as the president of America, but we see as a person with Kenyan roots," he said.
Imanyara said Kenyans want entrenched democracy.
"We are (on an) unstoppable march towards a democratic Kenya without the likes of Kibaki and Wetangula his foreign minister," Imanyara said.
Ambassador Ranneberger said Washington will closely examine Kenya's funding proposals to international financial institutions.
Imanyara said Nairobi angrily reacted after the ambassador mentioned Washington's decision to carefully examine Kenya's proposals for international funding.
"Absolutely, because the mention of the lending institutions touches a nerve center of this most corrupt administration… as long as international financial institutions like the World Bank which are unpinned and paid for by the Kenyan taxpayers," Imanyara said.
During a press conference last week Thursday, Ambassador Renneberger refused to name the government officials but warned that when enforced, the travel bans would extend to the individuals' families.
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