- Text smaller
- Text bigger
Sen. Barack Obama with Raila Odinga
Kenya today gave President Obama a much-wanted birthday present, voting overwhelmingly to pass a constitutional referendum that would legitimize for the first time abortions and Islamic courts in the nation.
With 63 percent of the provincial vote counted as of 5:45 p.m. EDT, the “Yes” vote appeared to be a runaway winner, gaining 66 percent of the 5 million votes counted, with the “No” vote totaling only 34 percent.
WND previously reported the Obama administration spent $23 million of Agency for International Development funds to support the “Yes” vote in the referendum, despite congressional protests.
In response to inquiries from Reps. Chris Smith, R-N.J.; Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.; and Darrell Issa, R-Calif., AID admitted to spending more than $23 million of U.S. taxpayer money to influence voters in Kenya to pass the highly controversial constitution.
“Despite denials, the Obama administration’s funding to support passage of the controversial Kenyan proposed constitution is clear,” Jeff Sagnip, spokesman for Rep. Smith, told WND in an e-mail over the weekend. “It constitutes U.S. monetary interference in a sovereign nation’s voting process. If passed the constitution would dramatically alter existing pro-life laws.”
Sagnip pointed out that the proposed constitution would water down existing constitutional prohibitions on abortion except to save life. The new plan would permit abortion when “in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment or the life or health of the mother is in danger, or if permitted by any other written law.” Sagnip characterized the language as “obviously vague” and riddled with “blatant loopholes.”
The New York Times quoted Johnnie Carson, the assistant secretary of state for African affairs, as claiming that “a very small percentage” of the civic-education grants made by AID in Kenya have gone to groups advocating for a “Yes” vote, but that this was “an accident and an error.”
Yet, according to Rep. Smith’s office, the Inspector General of AID had 10 programs with direct ties to supporting the “Yes” vote that the Obama administration had funded in Kenya, including the following:
- $94,133 to the Provincial Peace Forum in Rift Valley “to build on previous activities in the North Rift as an entry point for a YES campaign on the constitution.”
- $91,106.66 to the Central Organization of Trade Unions to “marshal a coalition of pro-Constitution individuals, institutions and organizations to drum up political support for the Proposed Constitution by organizing a public rally at the historic Kamukunji Grounds, Nairobi.”
Kenyan constitutional referendum would establish official Islamic courts
The proposed constitution also would give legal status to what are known as “Kadhi Courts,” constituting an Islamic judicial structure within the overall structure of the Kenyan legal structure, to resolve disputes between Muslims under Shariah law.
Critics have charged that the constitutional provision to codify Kadhi Courts would violate the separation of state and religion by allowing Islamic law to have official legal status within a special category of Islamic courts that bear constitutionally specified legal authority.
WND previously has reported that in the 2007 presidential campaign in Kenya, Raila Odinga, the presidential candidate of the Orange Democratic Party, and like Obama a fellow Luo tribesman, had signed an undisclosed memorandum of understanding with radical Muslims in Kenya to expand Shariah law within Kenya in exchange for Muslim support of his presidential candidacy.
As reported by Ecumenical News International in the U.K., many Kenyans believe the provision in the proposed Kenyan constitution referendum designed to establish constitutional status for Kadhi Courts is a fulfillment of that agreement that Odinga made with Shiek Abdullah Abdi, the chairman of the National Muslim Leaders Forum in Kenya.
Obama’s links to Odinga
The Obama administration’s funding of Kenyan internal politics appears to follow a pattern then-Sen. Barack Obama first set on his 2006 Senate-funded visit to Kenya.
During that trip in 2006, Obama campaigned so openly for Odinga that Kenyan government spokesman Alfred Mutua went on Kenyan television on behalf of Kenyan President Kibaki to object that Obama was meddling inappropriately in Kenyan politics, as WND previously reported.
Also as WND previously reported, Odinga called for protests over alleged voter fraud during the December 2007 Kenyan presidential election, with the resulting protest violence leaving an estimated 1,000 members of the dominant Kikuyu tribe in Kenya dead and an estimated 500,000 displaced from their homes.
In a horrifying incident following the election, at least 50 people, including women and children, were killed when an angry mob forced Kikuyu Christians into an Assembly of God Pentecostal church in the village of Eldoret, about 185 miles northwest of Nairobi, and set fire to the church, hacking with machetes any of the Christians who attempted to escape the flames.
In the final days of the New Hampshire Democratic primary, after the postelection violence in Kenya, Obama told reporters he continued to remain in contact with Odinga by telephone.
Obama did not object to Odinga’s continued push to share the head of state with President Mwai Kibaki despite his electoral defeat in the Kenyan 2007 presidential election.
Instead, then-Sen. Obama worked with former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to end the violence in Kenya by creating for Odinga the position of prime minister, a position that was not defined in the Kenyan constitution, in order for Odinga to become co–head of state alongside Kibaki.
As recently as this May, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the top prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, was in Kenya to investigate the possibility of bringing criminal charges against both Kenyan Kibaki and Odinga for their roles in the postelection violence.