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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Smiling Wako is no longer smiling

Kenya's Attorney General Amos Wako has signalled his intention to sue the United States for defamation.

Mr Wako said that he had "received notification that my visa has been revoked for blocking reforms," more than a week after the US Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Jonnie Carson said his country had banned a senior Kenya Government official for blocking reforms.

Mr Carson, however, withheld the name of the banned official only saying he was of "influence" and his duties required extensive travel.

Addressing a news conference at his Sheria House office on Wednesday, Mr Wako said the ban due to "engaging in corrupt actions which have adversely affected the national interests of the United States of America," were off the mark and amounted to defaming him.

The AG said that he will seek legal redress in the US adding: "I will take the fight there."

"Although I am totally indifferent to the revocation of the visa and I have absolutely no desire to visit the United States of America, nevertheless; in view of the reasons given, which are defamatory, it is my intention to seek legal advice with a view to institute legal proceedings in the US," said Mr Wako.

He dismissed claims that he was an obstacle to reforms saying that he had overseen changes in the country including the transition from a one-party state to a fully fledged multi-party democracy.

He said that he has always "kept the fire of reforms within government" adding that he was an "adviser and not a decision maker."

He added: "During the period, I initiated an ambitious Legal Reform Programme by appointing over 17 Task Forces which resulted in re-drafting of many areas of law resulted in many legislations which have already been enacted."

"The enacted legislations have all enhanced democracy, the Rule of law, Human Rights, Transparency and Accountability."

He rejected notions that he had obstructed reforms under Agenda 4 saying that "if anything he had facilitated the said agenda."

"I am pleased to state that only yesterday (Tuesday), as a member of the Task Force on Police Reforms we handed over the Report of the Task Force to the President and the Prime Minister. I am particularly delighted and proud that as a member of the Committee of Experts, we have more or less finalised the drafting of the harmonised new Constitution."

He posed: "Are these the activities of a man who is accused of being anti-reform?"

He questioned Mr Carson's expectation on the AG to "successfully investigate and prosecute" Anglo Leasing-type cases when America's security agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) cannot do so because of "the law in the US to secure the cooperation of key suspects and /or witnesses in the Anglo Leasing-type cases."

Mr Wako was categorical that his office was not among those earmarked for reforms during the Serena Talks that yielded Agenda 4 listing them as: police, parliamentary, judicial and civil service reform. "The target on individuals and the Office of the Attorney General is therefore an American or foreign agenda and not part of our own Agenda 4," he said.

He concluded that the visa revocation was not done in "good faith in support of Agenda 4 reforms, which I, as Attorney General, and as a patriotic Kenyan, a proud African and simply as a human being, I am totally committed to playing my role to ensure that the Agenda 4 reforms are achieved and realised."

Speculation had been rife that Mr Wako was the latest US target, after Mr Carson's announcement coming on the back on US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Kenya visit, where she impressed upon the Kenya leadership to push for reforms. She is understood to have said told Kenya's principals- President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga- that changes were required in the police, judiciary and the State Law Office.

Former Police Commissioner Major General Hussein Ali has since been transferred to the post office while Chief Justice Evans Gicheru remains in office. "For 15 years, grand corruption has reigned such as Anglo Leasing but not one top officer has been found guilty. Millions of dollars that could have been used to build schools have disappeared and the Attorney-General and the Judiciary are responsible," Mr Carson said at the time.

Then, Foreign minister Moses Wetangula dismissed the US action as "megaphone diplomacy."

Mr Wako has served for a record 18 years since he was appointed AG by former President Moi in 1991. He has been widely criticised for his handling of cases involving corruption. The infamous Goldenberg and Anglo Leasing scandals, where the government lost billions of taxpayers' money, occurred during his watch. The cases have never been successfully prosecuted.

Only recently, he entered nolle prosequi in a case involving outlawed Mungiki sect leader Maina Njenga. Mr Njenga was accused of killing 29 people in Mathira, Central Kenya in a revenge Mungiki attack earlier in the year.

1 comment:

Modern Greetings said...

Smiling Wako is no longer smiling. I saw right from his eyes that indeed this person isn't smiling at all. But whatever the problem he is into, be strong and courageous. You can and will be able to overcome it.