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Thursday, November 1, 2007

A most undiplomatic act


A strange spectacle unfolded last week involving US ambassador Michael Ranneberger and Labour minister Newton Kulundu. Mr Kulundu launched what appeared to be an unwarranted attack on the US and other Western countries, which he described as the worst violators of human rights in the world. He qualified his remarks by saying they were purely personal.

The ambassadors’s reaction was strangely intolerant. He declined to shake Mr Kulundu’s hand twice, a serious insult to an African, and was very hostile. He described the ministers’ remarks as “ludicrous” and “nonsense”.

The incident left Kenyans wondering. Doesn’t the US pride itself in being the land of the free, where the freedom of the expression of unpopular (or even nonsensical views) is respected?

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