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Monday, March 7, 2011

Kenya's 'intellectual lightweight' embarks on round 2 of wasting taxpayers' money

Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka , considered an  "intellectual lightweight" by US ambassador Michael Ranneberger, according to Wikileaks, has embarked on a second round of shuttle diplomacy to seek support for a deferral of Kenya’s post-poll violence cases by a year.

Mr Musyoka is leading a seven-member team of ministers appointed by President Kibaki last week to lobby the 15 United Nations Security Council members to back its bid for a deferral of the International Criminal Court cases. The VP, who left on Sunday, will meet UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday and US officials on Wednesday. He will be back home on Thursday, his press secretary Mr Kaplich Barsito said.

Meanwhile Trade Minister Chirau Mwakwere has left for Bosnia and Lebanon while Agriculture Minister Sally Kosgei and East African Community’s Hellen Sambili will head for Brazil. The other special envoys are Internal Security Minister George Saitoti, Nairobi Metropolitan minister Njeru Githae and Foreign Affairs assistant minister Charles Onyonka.

Mr Barsito said the deferral is needed to give a local judicial process a chance following reforms arising from the new constitution, adding that the special envoys would argue that the ICC process could affect Kenya’s fragile stability and hinder movement of goods to landlocked countries that rely on it. Mr Barsito, without tabling any research, unilaterally declared that "millions of Kenyans" were against the ICC process but their voices had been drowned out by civil society.

In the first round of shuttle diplomacy, Mr Musyoka led a team of ministers to African countries, an exercise that cost taxpayers more than Sh30 million. On Sunday, former MP Paul Muite accused the government of further misusing taxpayers’ money to collect signatures against the ICC process. Mr Muite alleged chiefs were paying individuals Sh200 each to sign the anti-ICC petition. “The Ocampo Six have a right to collect signatures but not with taxpayers’ money,” he said.

On Sunday, Lands Minister James Orengo and the Finance assistant minister Dr Oburu Oginga said the diplomacy was a waste of public funds as the Government had failed to prove to the UN Security Council that it could establish a fair and credible local mechanism. “You cannot push for a deferral of the Ocampo Six cases yet the process of creating a local tribunal has been a sham,” he said. Dr Oburu said the move to seek support from the five permanent members of the Security Council was misdirected as the Government should have approached the three African member states who in turn, would convince the five permanent members.

And Immigration minister Otieno Kajwang’ has urged the international community not to be hoodwinked.
Speaking in his Mbita Constituency, Mr Kajwang’ said Kenyans were shocked that while victims of post-election violence continued to suffer, the government had embarked on a spending spree to protect those implicated in the violence. “Kenyans are not fooled. They are aware that their taxes are being spent to protect those accused of crimes against them,” he said.

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