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Kenyan Official Wants U.S. Financial Support for Electoral Reforms

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Kenya's Minister for Justice Mutula Kilonzo says if the United States is really interested in bringing about reforms in Kenya, President Barack Obama should give Kenya the necessary financial support to modernize the country's electoral system.

Mr. Kilonzo, who is also the minister responsible for ensuring transparency in Kenya's 2012 election said he wants to make sure those elections do not suffer the same violence that marred the 2007 elections.

"I do know that President Obama particularly supports the reform in Kenya. But I would like him to put his money where his mouth is, to give us money to introduce electronic voting so that I can know once and for all that the 2012 election will be transparent beyond reproach," he said.

Kilonzo said as the country's minister for justice, he has no voter registration card, and there was no voter register in his constituent.

He said if Kenya fails to come up with a new electoral system the 2007 post-election violence would be like a picnic.

Kilonzo said he has received a letter from the Obama administration but denied he is one of the Kenyan government officials who have reportedly been placed on a U.S. travel ban.

"I have not received any letter from the U.S. not on a travel ban, and even if I did, it would be meaningless because I have no intention of traveling to the U.S.," Kilonzo said.

He said the letter he received from the U.S. asked him to speed up the reform process in Kenya.

But Kilonzo said he dismissed the letter because as he put it he's not answerable to the United States.

"Quite clearly it had not been sent through either the President or the Prime Minister to whom I am answerable or my parliament. I don't think I can respond to instructions from a foreign power, even if it is America," Kilonzo said.

Kilonzo denied he's one of those officials who are holding up Kenya's reform process.

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On the contrary he said he said he had good discussions with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson and U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger.

Kilonzo said his only disagreement with Ambassador Ranneberger had to do with what Kilonzo called the ambassador's language toward the Kenyan government.

He said Kenyan officials' meeting with International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo last week went well.

Ocampo announced last week that he was invoking his prosecutorial powers to ask the ICC to authorize investigations into crimes committed during Kenya's December 2007 post-election violence.

"The meeting went much better than I had thought. Strictly speaking, the government cannot refer anybody to the ICC because we don't have such a situation…what is now required is a mechanism for investigating and trying at least the principle instigators of the violence," he said.

Kilonzo said reports of individuals stockpiling weapons in some of the regions affected by the 2007 post-election violence in protest of any official being taken to the ICC could be true. <!-- IMAGE -->