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The Obama administration is relaunching a strategy to shift vast quantities of money from the United States to Kenya, even though the African nation was stripped of a propaganda plan that was uncovered in a series of WND reports a year ago.
WND reported June 20, 2012, that the Obama administration’s spending in Kenya had become so voluminous that the U.S. Agency for International Development was asking for more contractors to oversee the work.
The propaganda plan, an addition to the project, explained “targeted opinion leaders” must be used to exert influence on the ideas.
“Journalists, editors and media personalities are also opinion leaders,” said the administration’s strategy. “They determine what gets written or talked about in the media.”
Shortly after the WND reports, the Obama administration sanitized the online FedBizOpps system on the issue.
Because the WND article had linked to a series of the original online documents, a Kenyan journalist pursued his own investigation and found that the documents had been removed.
The official explanation, from USAID Press Officer Matthew Johnson, said that the documents were removed because they were for “internal purposes.”
Now the administration has relaunched its effort to hire contractors to oversee other vendors involved in Obama’s expansive aid program to Kenya.
But USAID did not simply pick up where it left off.
This time around, the agency repackaged the procurement strictly as a health care and food-aid initiative.
Noticeably absent from the revised solicitation are the previous references to existing programs whose aim is to strengthen Kenyan governmental and economic institutions.
Similarly, USAID left out the Kenya propaganda document, which the agency in the original solicitation included as an addendum to the support-services procurement.
The strategic plan spelled out how contractors, in conjunction with the USAID/Kenya Development and Outreach Communications team, would collaborate with groups such as the United Nations Development Program to “target specific journalists at key media outlets to be groomed to cover targeted issues over time.”
The document even revealed the names of several mainstream media journalists, bloggers and radio station personalities, in both the U.S. and Kenya, for outreach: “Engage a few key international journalists, such as the Economist’s Africa Baobab blog, the Washington Post’s [Africa Bureau Chief] Sudarsan Raghaven, the New York Times [East Africa Bureau Chief] Jeffrey Gettleman and AP’s [Kenya correspondent] Jason Straziuso in following our progress on targeted issues.”
Much of the original procurement-document language, however, remains intact.
The solicitation says, for example, that Kenyan aid programs have “increased rapidly and exponentially, outstripping workforce resources available to effectively perform assessments and rigorous analyses … track results … manage record keeping, and other project development and program office functions.”
Likewise, though Kenya remains a core part of this initiative, USAID has given the appearance of expanding the geographic reach of the contractor-oversight plan in Solicitation No. SOL-615-13-000015, now known as Evaluation Services and Program Support for USAID/Kenya and USAID/East Africa Health Programs.
The previous effort via Solicitation No. SOL-623-12-000013 was within the general purview of USAID/Kenya.
The updated plan, according to the new procurement document, is being carried out by USAID/Kenya’s Office of Population and Health and USAID/East Africa’s Regional Health and HIV/AIDS Office.
The potential contract for the five-year Evaluation Services and Program Support program, as before, remains capped at $23 million.
Although USAID in its own words cannot adequately manage the voluminous initiatives it has launched in Kenya, cost-wise overall aid dropped from a high of $830 million in FY 2009 to $460 million in FY2013.
Nonetheless, new programs under Obama continue to unfold.
As WND recently reported, the administration wants to spend about $50 million to help strengthen Kenya’s county governments – an effort it acknowledged either could spark the redistribution of political power across the African republic, whose national government is viewed as one of the most notoriously corrupt in the world, or will inadvertently create 47 equally corrupt county systems.
USAID also is embarking upon a nationwide reading project that aims to improve the skills of children in tens of thousands of Kenyan schools.
Similarly, the administration earlier this year launched new peace initiatives in and around Kenya, despite acknowledging that chronic cattle rustling and other cultural practices – such as killing rivals “to prove their manhood or impress young women” – might impede progress.