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Macharia Kamau tells off 2 former US envoys to Kenya

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Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau has come out guns blazing in response to an article published late last month by former US ambassadors to Kenya Johnnie Carson and Mark Bellamy in which they called for US intervention in Kenya. The article was published by African Arguments.

Through a statement sent to newsrooms Tuesday, the immediate former Kenya’s ambassador to the UN has said the article fell “flat on their face due to the blatant use of lies, half-truths and innuendos.”

And in an opinion piece published in the same publication, Kamau says there is no need for negotiations since Kenya has successfully gone through its five-year electoral cycle and is now focused on serving her citizens.

In effect, the Kenyan government is rejecting calls to have the United States intervene in the current political standoff pitting it against the opposition.

ABSURD DEMAND

“Our response to the authors’ absurd demand for US intervention in Kenya is a loud no, thanks,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Ambassadors Bellamy and Carson. PHOTO/COURTESY

“This is a clear demonstration of how preconceived notions and stereotypes about Africa by Western technocrats override any practical experience and knowledge they may have acquired on the continent. Their knack for getting it wrong on African and Kenyan issues is not only dumbfounding but also a demonstration of why desk research on Africa, with the only source of information being a biased Western media, should be treated with disdain,” he said.

The Daily Nation reported the President Uhuru Kenyatta’s spokesman Manoah Esipisu appeared to confirm that, indeed, that was the position held by the Head of State.

“The PS has spoken and that is his docket. What else do you want us to add?” he asked.

The former ambassadors offered their joint recommendations in a commentary published in African Arguments, an online journal.

“Publicly shaming the Kenyatta government or threatening sanctions is not the answer. However, the US must make it crystal clear privately that there are limits to what the US can tolerate if it is to maintain its close relationship and that continuing to amass executive power unconstitutionally and flout the rule of law seriously tests those limits,” they said.

 

Mr Kamau Tuesday accused the former envoys of misinforming their readers on the situation in Kenya during and after the General Election.

“The fact that Kenya went through the prolonged campaign and electioneering period and emerged peaceful, should be a reason to celebrate the resilience of her democracy,” he said.

“They talk of political chaos and possible intercommunal violence and a palpable desire to change this trajectory. They even mourn that attempts by Western governments to appeal for calm are not being heeded. The reader will note how the authors are keen to weave the now familiar narrative of a crumbling African State and the ever-benevolent Western states ready to intervene and sort out ‘another fine mess in Africa’,” he said.

 

Mr Kamau’s hard-hitting statement, coming at a time US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected in the country, may be seen as an attempt to pre-empt his agenda with observers in the diplomatic circles pointing out that the senior diplomat could in fact be stating the government’s position regarding the campaign for dialogue.

The PS said the 2017 elections presented an opportunity to test the institutions created by the constitution, including the Judiciary and the IEBC.

“The question of whether the institutions withstood the test can be attested by the peace and tranquillity that is existing in Kenya barely three months after the repeat elections,” he said, adding that the electioneering period ended with the swearing-in of President Uhuru Kenyatta on November 28, 2017, after he was duly elected in the October repeat presidential elections.

RULE OF LAW

“The claims that there is a deliberate attempt by the Executive to subvert the rule of law cannot be further from the truth.  Throughout the campaign period, the government demonstrated fidelity to the law with the then incumbent President accepting the Supreme Court ruling nullifying the August 8, 2017 presidential election even as he, and other legal analysts, disagreed with it. The main opposition coalition, clearly aware that their political strategy had failed, dithered and withered, eventually boycotting the repeat presidential elections,” he said.

He accused the opposition of attempting to perpetrate violence in the wake of their electoral loss.

To demonstrate that the country is on the right path, he said, international investors have given the Kenyan economy a vote of confidence by a sevenfold over-subscription of a Eurobond issued by the government in the London Stock Exchange recently.

 

Here is the  full article:

That Mark Bellamy and Johnnie Carson are accomplished US diplomats is not in doubt. It may also be assumed that their relationship with Kenya as former ambassadors in Nairobi gives them a more than average understanding of Kenya’s politics, economy and even social aspects.

But their article, published at African Arguments on 27 February, in which they call for US intervention in Kenya is a clear demonstration of how preconceived notions and stereotypes about Africa by Western technocrats override any practical experience and knowledge they may have acquired on the continent.

Their knack for getting it wrong on African and Kenyan issues is not only dumbfounding but also a demonstration of why desk research on Africa, with the only source of information being a biased Western media, should be treated with disdain.

The authors seem to revel in misinforming their readers not only on the existing situation but also on the events that unfolded during Kenya’s 2017 election cycle. They talk of political chaos, possible intercommunal violence, and a palpable desire to change this trajectory. They even mourn that attempts by Western governments to appeal for calm are not being heeded.

The reader will note how the authors are keen to weave the now familiar narrative of a crumbling African State and the ever-benevolent Western states ready to intervene and sort “another fine mess in Africa”. Inevitably, attempts to weave this narrative in this article fall flat on their face due to the blatant use of lies, half-truths and innuendos.

Peace and tranquillity since the elections

It’s a fact that Kenya’s vibrant electioneering period ended with the swearing in of President Uhuru Kenyatta on 28 November, after he was duly elected in the 26 October 2017 repeat presidential elections. The claims that there is a deliberate attempt by the executive to subvert the rule of law cannot be further from the truth. Throughout the campaign period, the government demonstrated fidelity to the law with the president accepting the Supreme Court ruling nullifying the 8 August presidential election even as he, and other legal analysts, disagreed with it.

The main opposition coalition, clearly aware that their political strategy had failed, dithered and withered, eventually boycotting the repeat elections. Their attempts to perpetrate violence in the wake of their electoral loss have been rejected outright by Kenyans, with the government taking the necessary steps to fulfil its cardinal responsibility of protecting the lives and property of Kenyans.

In the long and arduous walk to entrench democratic principles, no individual or institution is exempt from the dictates of the constitution. Just like in any other democracy, the media, various arms of government, political parties, civil society groups, and all citizens are bound by the constitution and its violation has consequences in line with the rule of law.

The fact that Kenya went through the prolonged campaign period and emerged peaceful should be a reason to celebrate the resilience of her democracy. Kenya’s constitution, enacted in 2010, is barely eight years old. The 2017 elections presented an opportunity to test the institutions it created, including the Judiciary and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

The question of whether the institutions withstood the test can be attested to by the peace and tranquillity in Kenya barely three months after the repeat elections. Kenyans are back to work and the economy, which had slightly slumped during the electioneering period, is now on an upward trend with the World Bank projecting 5% economic growth for 2018.

Even international investors have given the economy a vote of confidence by a sevenfold oversubscription of a Eurobond issued by the government in the London Stock Exchange on 21 February. The tourists are trooping back to enjoy the unrivalled Kenyan flora and fauna and bask in the white beaches of Malindi and the entire coastal region.

Double standards

The authors’ assertion that Kenya is unravelling due to what they refer to as a widening rift between the ruling Jubilee and the opposition NASA coalition betrays their double standards when it comes to democratic tenets in Africa as compared to in America.

It is not lost on Kenyans that the differences in ideologies between the Democrat and Republican parties and toxic political drama that culminated in the election of President Donald Trump in 2016 left some social and political fissures in America. But despite their divisive nature, the Trump vs. Clinton political campaigns can rightly be described as a demonstration of the vibrancy and maturity of America’s democracy.

In a clear display of bias and cognitive dissonance, Bellamy and Carson describe similar ideological differences and political rhetoric between the Jubilee Party and NASA Coalition during and after the elections as political turmoil. Competitive politics in a democracy, both in America and Africa, can never be described as turmoil. Political competition is a key tenet of democracy, and Kenya has demonstrated that, with strong institutions, credible and peaceful elections are possible.

An affront to Kenya’s sovereignty

On a positive note, the authors acknowledge the cordial relations between Kenya and the US, which they had an opportunity to strengthen during their respective tenures as ambassadors to Kenya. They use this as a basis for advocating for US intervention to prevent what they see as Kenya descending into violence and threats to rule of law.

But with memories of US interventions in countries such as Libya and Iraq, ostensibly to return them to democracy, still fresh in our minds, jitters about this proposal by senior US leaders are understandable. Any form of interference by the US in a country that has time and again demonstrated her commitment to entrench democratic principles, rule of law, and good governance can only portend danger.

It is no wonder that the current US ambassador in Nairobi, and indeed the entire US government, has risen above Kenya’s political challenges. Just as Ambassador Carson was proven wrong on his assertion before the 2013 elections that a victory for Uhuru Kenyatta would have negative consequences, the two countries have once again continued on the path of strengthening their bilateral relations and partnerships with a clear understanding of the need for mutual respect. The threats issued and grandstanding advocated for by the two US leaders is not only unfortunate but also an affront to Kenya’s sovereignty.

On her part, Kenya will maintain momentum in strengthening governance institutions, entrenching the rule of law, building a cohesive society, and buttressing peace within its borders and in the region. While we welcome positive and constructive criticism from our partners and friends, we remain averse to any suggestions of interference with our internal affairs from any quarters.

Our response to the authors’ absurd demand for US intervention in Kenya is a loud NO THANKS!

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Africa

Plane with 17 passengers on board crashes in DRC

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A passenger plane with about 17 passengers on board crashed on Sunday in the city of Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, killing several people, the provincial governor’s office said.

The plane, operated by the local company Busy Bee, crashed during takeoff for a flight to the city of Beni, North Kivu Governor Carly Nzanzu Kasivita’s office said in a statement.

The number of fatalities was not yet clear.Busy Bee was not available for comment.Air accidents are relatively frequent in Congo because of lax safety standards and poor maintenance. \All Congolese commercial carriers, including Busy Bee, are banned from operating in the European Union.

A cargo plane departing from the same airport crashed an hour after take-off in October, killing all eight passengers.

By Standard

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Africa

Why school kept news of student’s family members’ death a secret for 22 days

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A school in Tanzania decided not to inform a 16-year-old girl that her entire family of five had been wiped out by flash floods last month to enable her complete her examinations.

Anna Zambi’s parents and siblings were on their way to visit her in school for prayer day ahead of her final secondary school examinations when they met their death.

TRAGIC INCIDENT

A private car in which they were travelling in was swept away in floods following incessant rains in Handeni District, Tanga Region.

According Tanzanian daily, The Citizen, the school chose to keep the tragic incident a secret to enable Zambi complete her exams in peace.

The incident happened just two days before the start of the examinations.

The head teacher of Mother Teresa of Calcuta Girls Secondary School revealed how he managed to ensure the student was kept in the dark over the tragedy that took the lives of her parents and three other siblings on October 26.

GRAVEYARDS

In breaking communication at the school, he said, all students were no longer allowed to watch TV on the pretext that it was examination time and that they must always be busy with their books.

On Monday, almost a month after the incident, she traveled back home to be with her family after finishing the exams, only to learn that her parents and siblings were no more.

It was not until Saturday, November 16, when a wave of grief and deep sorrow rolled through relatives and mourners who had gathered for hours to receive Zambi and take her to the graveyards of her parents and three siblings.

At the same time, the Tanzanian government has pledged to support the bereaved teenager, saying that it would pay for her psychological rehabilitation and education.

By NN

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Africa

Invitation to the African Girls Hope Foundation Annual Gala happening this Saturday in Atlanta

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BY BEN KAROMO

African Girls Hope Foundation (AGHF) annual Gala is happening this Saturday at the Kenyan American Community Church in Marietta, Georgia, USA. AGHF  is a non-profit founded by Grace Faraja, a former refugee from the 1990s civil war that ravaged the DRC. She started the foundation to help educate girls in rural Congo caught in the ongoing civil unrest, poverty and disease.

As a former beneficiary of a full scholarship that changed her life, Grace believes providing an education to orphaned and less privileged girls can open a world of opportunities to them and help then end the cycle of poverty and early marriages.

This year, AGHF’s aim is to provide full-year scholarships to 120 girls at a cost of $29 per month per girl. We are seeking your help to raise funds to meet the overall goal of $34,000 for the year 2019-2020.

We ask you to help us meet this goal by donating on our website at https://africangirlshopefoundation.com/.

We prayerfully desire to support the education of 120 girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya. With hope that God will open doors to other African countries in the near future. We have partnered with a local pastor running a school in the village of Mulenge in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Our partner has identified numerous girls in the village who are orphans of father and mother. Girls selected as AGHF beneficiaries are 65% of orphans of both parents.

Atlanta residents, please join us for our Annual Fundraising Gala dinner, to be held on November 9th at the Kenyan American Community Church KICC in Marietta, Georgia. Dinner and parking will be provided.

Below are some of the girls who need our help:

 

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