The U.S. government says it sent warning letters to 15 senior Kenyan
officials who are viewed as impeding the implementation of key
governance reforms. The
U.S. ambassador to Kenya further stated that travel bans would be
issued against some of the 15 in the coming weeks.
letters sent to the Kenyan officials and signed by U.S. Assistant
Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson make no mention
of a potential travel ban, but warn the targeted individuals that their
"future relationship" with the United States is dependent on their
performance in aiding Kenya's political reform process.
the names of the letters' recipients were not disclosed, U.S.
Ambassador Michael Ranneberger said the list included cabinet
ministers, government ministry permanent secretaries, members of
parliament, and other prominent officials.
follows months of threats from senior U.S. officials that the failure
of some Kenyan leaders to push for agreed upon reforms is causing a
major rift in the two nations' relations.
Among key steps
specified by the United States as crucial are the overhaul of the
country's police and judicial institutions, fighting corruption, the
creation of a permanent electoral commission, the completion of a
constitutional review process, and bringing to justice those
responsible for the use of political violence.
States also said it will "more closely scrutinize" future dealings
between Kenya and international financial institutions.
The ambassador said the letters are proof repeated U.S. warnings have not been idle threats.
steps reflect the message President Obama and Secretary Clinton have
clearly and repeatedly delivered: that we are deeply concerned by [the] lack
of implementation of key elements of the reform agenda, and that, while
we want to help the reform process, we will not do business as usual
with those who do not support reform or who support violence to achieve
political ends," Ranneberger said.
The so-called reform
agenda was a core part of the agreement mediated by former United
Nations chief Kofi Annan that ended the post-election standoff between
President Mwai Kibaki and now-Prime Minister Raila Odinga, bringing to
a halt weeks of violent turmoil.
Ranneberger stressed these
actions towards Kenya are directed from the very top of the U.S.
government. President Obama, whose father was Kenyan, is widely viewed
as a national hero in the country.
if you will notice, these letters come from Washington. It is a
growing sense of frustration at the highest levels that despite all
the rhetoric and commissions and talk and all that - not much has
happened, Ranneberger said.
The ambassador reported that
he had already received a couple phone calls from the targeted
officials expressing a desire to sit down with the U.S. envoy to
discuss their role in pushing for reforms.
spokesman, Alfred Mutua, dismissed the U.S. threats, saying travel bans
will do nothing to help the reform process.