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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05NAIROBI5240
2005-12-23 03:29:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Nairobi
Cable title:  

AMBASSADOR RAISES ISSUES OF U.S. CONCERN WITH NEW

Tags:   PREL  PTER  SNAR  MASS  CASC  KCOR  KE  SO  SU  AU  KICC 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 NAIROBI 005240 

SIPDIS

LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/23/2025
TAGS: PREL PTER SNAR MASS CASC KCOR KE SO SU AU KICC
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR RAISES ISSUES OF U.S. CONCERN WITH NEW
FOREIGN MINISTER

REF: STATE 226663

Classified By: PolCouns Michael J. Fitzpatrick; Reasons: 1.4 (b,d)

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 NAIROBI 005240

SIPDIS

LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/23/2025
TAGS: PREL PTER SNAR MASS CASC KCOR KE SO SU AU KICC
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR RAISES ISSUES OF U.S. CONCERN WITH NEW
FOREIGN MINISTER

REF: STATE 226663

Classified By: PolCouns Michael J. Fitzpatrick; Reasons: 1.4 (b,d)


1. (C) SUMMARY: The Ambassador raised several issues of
concern in our bilateral relationship during December 20
meeting with newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs
Raphael Tuju, including: counter-terrorism, Article 98,
Rewards for Justice, travel warnings, narcotics, public
corruption, and U.S. engagement on Somalia. Tuju expressed a
commitment to cultivate a constructive relationship with the
U.S. Although Tuju said the right things, he was clearly
nervous about the potential for USG commentary on Kenya's
poor governance and anti-corruption record. END SUMMARY.


2. (U) Ambassador called on newly installed Minister of
Foreign Affairs Raphael Tuju in his office the morning of
December 20. (NOTE: Tuju was appointed to the post December
7, following the dismissal of the entire cabinet after the
government lost November's constitutional referendum. END
NOTE.) Poloff accompanied as notetaker. Also present were
Moses Wetangula, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs;
Ambassador M.K. M,Ithiri, Americas Desk Head; Daniel Tanui,
Americas Desk First Secretary; and a representative from the
ministry,s internal press department.

--------------
Moving the Counter-Terrorism Agenda Forward
--------------


3. (C) The Ambassador expressed U.S. frustration with
Kenya's halting efforts to improve its ability to combat
terrorism. Specifically, he drew attention to the absence of
counter-terrorism legislation and the necessary legal tools
to strengthen the capacity of the Kenyan Police Service and
the Department of Public Prosecutions to bring terrorist
suspects to justice. The Ambassador also cited stalled

movement on the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), despite a
July meeting with the President in which Kibaki expressed his
support for the JTTF. The Ambassador suggested that if the
framework of the JTTF was not appropriate for Kenya, the U.S.
is prepared to assist Kenya develop a more appropriate
counter-terrorism framework.


4. (C) Tuju acknowledged that terrorism is a serious issue
in Kenya: "it hurts tourism, hurts Kenya, and erodes public
confidence in Kenya,s security system." Tuju promised to
follow up with President Kibaki on the status of the JTTF and
report back. He said the perception that proposed
counter-terrorism legislation would disproportionately target
Muslims had led to resistance to the bill in cabinet,
parliament, and the public sphere. (NOTE: According to Tuju,
former Heritage Minister Najib Balala threatened to resign
from Cabinet unless the counter-terrorism legislation was
withdrawn. Balala was one of those ministers not reappointed
this month. END NOTE.) Tuju stated that the Kenyan
government must carefully navigate the issue to account for
this sensitivity. Concerns that resistance to the
legislation would cause the bill to fail caused the
Government to delay its introduction in parliament.
(COMMENT: In other words, the GOK position has not changed in
two years. END COMMENT.)

--------------
Selling Article 98
--------------


5. (C) The Ambassador identified an Article 98
non-surrender agreement as a priority for the U.S. government
and appealed to Tuju to work toward bringing Kenya on board.
Tuju explained that Kenyan sensitivities to perceived
coercion complicate this issue. The loss of military aid
under U.S. law is perceived by many as "bullying" by the U.S.
Congress and Administration. Tuju suggested a more
productive approach would be to sell such an agreement as
good for the broader Kenya-U.S. relationship, highlighting
the strengths and benefits of U.S. engagement in Kenya as a
partner, rather than focusing on the consequences of not
signing an agreement. He expressed a willingness to help
improve Kenyan perceptions of the United States.

--------------
Concerns over Cocaine and Corruption
--------------


6. (C) The Ambassador then noted a potential perception
problem for the Kenyan government. The botched handling and
long-delayed destruction of the 1.1 ton December 2004 cocaine
seizure has raised concerns about the integrity of the
seizure and the officials charged with its safekeeping. Tuju
readily acknowledged that this was a problem. He said the
presence of such a large quantity of drugs indicated the
route was a preexisting one, in use for some time for similar
shipments. Such a route could not exist without the
involvement of high-ranking government officials. He
declined to speculate as to which officials were involved,
but stated that there was a drug trafficking connection
between elements in the current and former regimes. Tuju
offered to raise our concerns with relevant officials, but
emphasized that he would be "treading on dangerous ground."
If the "drug lords" discovered he was making inquiries, they
would not hesitate to "rub someone out." The Ambassador
renewed our offers of assistance to dispose of the drugs and
suggested that Kibaki publicly destroy the haul as a deft
public diplomacy maneuver.

--------------
Felicien Kabuga
--------------


7. (C) An additional perception problem for Kenya is the
suspicion that Rwandan genocidiare Felicien Kabuga continues
to enjoy refuge in Kenya. The Ambassador recounted how,
following tips from international sources, Kenyan law
enforcement authorities' efforts to arrest Kabuga were
repeatedly thwarted by tip-offs seemingly from within the
GOK. The Ambassador stressed the importance of greater
Kenyan cooperation in locating and arresting the
international fugitive and reiterated that the U.S. is
prepared to offer discrete assistance if desired.

--------------
Travel Warning: Business as Usual
--------------


8. (C) The Ambassador informed Tuju that the travel warning
would likely be renewed with the same language in January of
next year. Tuju agreed that over-reaction to the warning
will only serve to draw attention to it, and thus possibly
negatively impact the tourist trade. Wetangula shared that
the travel warning is an obstacle to securing an Article 98
agreement. Whenever he approaches members of parliament
(MPs) on the issue of Article 98, they respond first by
complaining about the travel warning.

--------------
Somalia
--------------


9. (C) The Ambassador explained that the U.S. is engaged on
Somalia, despite public misperceptions to the contrary. He
informed Tuju that the U.S. is currently conducting a major
policy review and cautioned against international pressure to
back a particular faction rather then working to empower the
Somalis to resolve their issues among themselves. Tuju did
not yet seem up to speed on Somalia.

--------------
Sudan and the AU Presidency
--------------


10. (C) The Ambassador asked if Kenya had heard rumors that
Sudanese President Bashir might seek the presidency of the
African Union (AU) when it meets in Khartoum early next year
(ref A). He asked if conflicts of interests might arise from
this. Tuju stressed that Kenya had little influence over the
decision, as it is traditional for the host nation to hold
the Presidency of the AU and all AU members have equal
interests in the post. Nevertheless, Tuju said that he would
look into the possibility that an alternative president could
avoid the potential for a conflict of interest.

--------------
Open Diplomacy: Shutting the Media Out
--------------


11. (C) Tuju requested a "period of constructive
engagement" to allow Kenya to work on important issues with
the U.S. Tuju asked that we bring to him directly any issues
or concerns we may have and avoid airing our concerns
publicly, which he dismissed as counterproductive. While
acknowledging Tuju's openness and willingness to make himself
available, the Ambassador noted that the U.S. public
diplomacy mission requires us to occasionally speak out on
particular topics, namely governance and corruption, and that
we would continue to do so. The Ambassador offered to keep
Tuju advised of our concerns and work to avoid any surprises.

--------------
COMMENT
--------------


12. (C) Tuju is a major improvement over his predecessor,
and we do not doubt that he is serious about working
constructively with us on bilateral issues. His nervousness
over any USG outspokenness on GOK governance and
anti-corruption failures is interesting. It no doubt
reflects the broader GOK view that the USG (and other donors)
can influence public opinion and generate popular pressure
for change and reform ) pressure the Kibaki government would
rather avoid. Tuju, now the sole Luo in the entire cabinet,
has firmly planted himself on Kibaki's side of the political
divide and is not likely to do anything that could cause
offense to his political masters. END COMMENT.
BELLAMY