Kenya: US envoy criticisms shocking

2010-11-30 17:01

Nairobi - Kenya's government is "surprised and shocked" by media reports US diplomats in the East African nation were scathing of the ruling parties in diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks website.

Germany's Der Spiegel - one of five newspapers that received cables leaked from US embassies around the globe - said classified messages from Nairobi referred to a "swamp of flourishing corruption" across Kenya and spoke with disdain of the coalition government.

"We do not know the details of the leaked cables, but if what is reported is true then it is totally malicious and a total misrepresentation of our country and our leaders," government spokesperson Alfred Mutua said. "We are surprised and shocked by these revelations."

Mutua said the US's Africa envoy Johnny Carson had called Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Monday to apologise for the expected leaks.

"The US Government indicated they are sorry for the content in the leaked documents," he said.

"They however have not told us what the documents say and what exactly they are sorry for."

Messages not surprising

That the US diplomatic mission in Kenya should be so critical in private messages comes as little surprise.
US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger is outspoken in his condemnation of the corruption many feel permeates every level of society in East Africa's largest economy.

Observers say the coalition government of Odinga and President Mwai Kibaki - formed to end the violence that followed disputed presidential elections in December 2007 - is still steeped in graft.

Several prominent ministers recently stepped aside after coming under investigation for alleged involvement in dodgy deals.

Mutua also accused foreign powers - apparently referring to the US - of attempting to undermine the government.

"The government is aware that a lot of money has been allocated to fund the youth to cause an uprising against our country and lead us into turmoil in an attempt to install a new leadership structure," he said.

The US is ploughing millions of dollars into youth empowerment programmes in Kenya.

"What we know is that true friends should tell you the truth all the time and should not tell you everything is okay on one hand and on the other hand say the opposite or initiate programmes against you," Mutua added.