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Secrets of Clinton’s private meetings

Secrets of Clinton’s private meetings

In Summary

•In front of the cameras, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used diplomatic language. Behind closed doors, her message was tougher
•US to shame chaos suspects

The US Government will name and shame key perpetrators of Kenya’s post-election violence and individuals involved in corruption.

It will also ban them from visiting the country, the Sunday Nation has learnt.

The declaration is part of an agreement reached between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during various private meetings with Kenya Government leaders and MPs during her three-day visit to the country.

The US further pushed for the total overhaul of the criminal justice system and the removal of four key public officials in what they view as the first crucial step to reform the institutions they head.

Parliamentary Accounts Committee chairman Bonny Khalwale, who attended one of the closed-door meetings with Mrs Clinton, said she was concerned about lack of reforms to help end impunity and promised to name, shame and ban the violence and corruption suspects from visiting the US.

“She promised to name and shame them as a demand for reforms. She also promised travel sanctions,” Dr Khalwale said. He said the US felt that if it used economic sanctions, only the poor would suffer.

Mrs Clinton, in her speeches and interviews, published by the State Department, said a local tribunal was preferable but The Hague option was inevitable if Kenyans did not move fast.

“The local approach is usually preferable because people feel that they are acting in a way that is commensurate with their values and their national interests. But what I’m hearing from people in Kenya is that no one thinks the local route will work, that they can’t get a special tribunal that is independent and able to stand up against impunity,” she said.

“If the people of Kenya and the Government cannot come up with a fair, acceptable approach to hold people accountable, then I believe you will see the referral to the ICC,” she said.

According to Dr Khalwale, Mrs Clinton was unhappy that the government still retained Attorney-General Amos Wako and Police Commissioner Hussein Ali in spite of rampant cases of extrajudicial killings.

Mr Wako and Major-General Ali, Mrs Clinton is said to have told three MPs who have been at forefront pushing for the formation of an opposition causus in Parliament, were not doing enough to address issues concerning their dockets.

Both Mr Wako and Gen Ali have rejected accusations that they have failed the institutions they head and ought to resign.

Mrs Clinton is further said to have called for reforms in the Judiciary headed by Chief Justice Evan Gicheru and the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission headed by Mr Justice (rtd) Aaron Ringera.

The four institutions headed by Mr Wako, Maj-Gen Ali, Mr Gicheru and Mr Ringera are key to fighting corruption, crime and ending impunity and have been in sharp focus over incompetence and inefficiency.

Dr Khalwale was in the company of Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo and Garsen’s Danson Mungatana when they met Mrs Clinton at the US embassy on Thursday in the presence of US official Johnnie Carson and ambassador Michael Ranneberger.

Although Gichugu MP Martha Karua had also been invited, she did not make it as she was attending a function in Mombasa.

In an interview with the Sunday Nation, Mr Kilonzo affirmed that the discussion centred on reforms in judiciary and police.

Mrs Clinton completed her three-day visit to the country on Thursday after attending the African Growth and Opportunity Act conference.

The Sunday Nation learnt that Mrs Clinton, who also held meetings with President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, noted that radical reforms in the police, judiciary, AG’s office and Kacc were crucial to ending impunity.

She said Parliament should help push for the changes so that the country does not return to chaos.

The former First Lady, who gave President Barack Obama a run for his money in the race for the Democratic Party’s ticket ahead of last year’s US elections, is said to have insisted that her government wants key perpetrators of post-election violence punished.

In an open forum, she said: “I feel very strongly there has to be accountability and there has to be, where appropriate, prosecutions. And that has not happened.”

“President Obama cares deeply about this country and its future. He asked me to deliver a very tough message, which I did word-for-word to the leaders that I met with yesterday. But it is a message that is accompanied by the love he feels and the connection he feels to this country.’’

Her country also wants reforms outlined under Agenda IV of the National Accord concluded in time. She urged Parliament to put the government on its toes and push through the changes.

She is said to have told Dr Khalwale’s group she wanted their views on the fate of the key suspects as top government officials she had talked to preferred that they be tried at the International Criminal Court.

The MPs are said to have explained that the majority of them wanted the culprits to be tried at The Hague and that they were against a local tribunal as it could be manipulated by powerful people and deny victims of the chaos justice.

“Mrs Clinton left the impression that she wanted the key perpetrators of the violence to be tried at The Hague,” Dr Khalwale said.
The US Secretary of State is said to have called for a structured opposition in Parliament to check on the grand coalition government.

Strong enough

On TJRC, Mrs Clinton is said to have noted that it was not strong enough to handle the 2007 post-election violence even if it was expanded.

Quotes picked from Mrs Clinton’s statements during her visit to Kenya posted in US State Department’s website emphasised the US Government’s tough demands for Kenya. For instance, in a meeting with US embassy staff in Nairobi, she is quoted as saying:

“You played a key role in helping to bring the Kenyan Government and the country back from the brink of disaster to forge a coalition agreement, and now we’ve got to realise the reforms that were supposed to be part of the agreement.”

Police reforms

The changes include a new constitution, electoral, judicial and police reforms and bringing to justice those who committed crimes and violence in the aftermath of the election.

Mrs Clinton said ending impunity for corruption is critical to Kenya’s future.

Source:Daily Nation

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