The Obama administration is continuing its cat-and-mouse game of engaging in questionable foreign aid initiatives – endeavors repeatedly hidden or canceled in the wake of WND reporting – which it then re-launches and even repackages later when public outrage dies down.
The pattern of deception is particularly striking in its expansive aid-to-Kenya program, a pattern regularly exposed over the past couple of years and one that nonetheless continues.
This year’s controversial U.S. Navy plan to build latrines for a Kenyan girls’ school was canceled, for example, soon after WND initially reported on the initiative.
Having sparked massive online protests against what many regard as a wasteful use of military resources – leading to calls for congressional action to terminate the project – the Navy in May dropped it without explanation. Calls to the Naval and Department of Defense press offices, respectively, went unreturned.
Initially the Naval Facilities Engineering Command rolled out plans, under Solicitation No. N33191-14-R-0613, to build a structure containing female “dry-pit latrines” at the Mpeketoni Secondary School in Kenya.
The Kenyan toilet controversy now has returned.
The Navy simply waited until July to re-launch an identical urinal endeavor through a different procurement action, further covering its tracks by changing the project tracking code to Solicitation No. N33191-14-R-0632.
Confirmation of the continuing trend comes at a time when Obama is gearing up for the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit, which he is touting as an opportunity for African nations “to become partners with America on behalf of the future we want for all of our children.”
But as WND recently learned, operating in the shadow of the summit are lesser-known gatherings in which the U.S. Trade & Development Agency, an independent White House agency, will teach the Africans how to tap into U.S. government sources of funding for infrastructure projects.
Hints of problematic patterns of U.S. assistance to Kenya – the president’s “home country,” as first lady Michelle Obama has referred to the Horn of Africa nation – began two summers ago.
Prominent among those discoveries was a sophisticated scheme – an official strategic plan – that Obama’s U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, had formulated to win favorable global and U.S. media coverage.
WND caught the foreign-aid bureaucrats red handed and subsequently nabbed USAID when it erased all public traces of the propaganda initiative.
The administration also around that time conceded, inadvertently through USAID documents obtained via routine database research, that its Kenyan program was out of control.
Indeed, its assistance program to Kenya had increased so “rapidly and exponentially” that USAID found it necessary to lavish additional multi-million-dollar awards on contractors simply to help existing agency contractors do their jobs, WND discovered.
The agency later revamped certain solicitations for industry proposals, modifying projects to make them East African regional ventures rather than Kenya-only endeavors.
The government merely repackaged and re-released its Request for Proposals, or RFP, expanding the potential geographic reach of the initiative while also narrowing its focus to health-related projects, WND discovered.
Although USAID admittedly could not adequately manage the voluminous initiatives it had launched in Kenya, cost-wise, overall aid has dropped from a high of $830 million in 2009 to $460 million in 2013.
The Kenya package leaped to $564 million in 2014 and remains comparable – $553 million – in the administration’s FY 2015 request.
Among other general, and not necessarily misleading, aid ventures to emerge is the creation of a new Kenyan bureaucracy to carry out the Resilience Learning Project, a “drought resilience” initiative whose goal is to increase collaboration and drought information-sharing among stakeholders in the Horn of Africa drylands.
USAID awarded a $20-million contract to Tufts University of Massachusetts to assist in the endeavor.
The program is part of a larger Obama administration “resilience agenda” whose aim is to strengthen governmental and private responses to drought and the conditions that bring about drought in Africa, according to a Statement of Work that WND discovered via routine database research.
USAID in July separately revealed its intention to issue an RFP for Kenya Nutrition and Health Program Plus, or NHPplus, a program with a potential $40-million contract value.
The agency’s goals for NHPplus include improving access and demand for “Quality Nutrition Interventions” at community and facility levels, strengthening Kenya’s ability to manage nutrition commodities and improving food and nutrition security.
The actual carrying out NHPplus is contingent upon the availability of funds, the document says.
The Centers for Disease Control intends to award a contract to Texas A&M University to analyze – and disseminate its findings throughout Kenya – urine samples from an aflatoxin-exposure study conducted on Kenyans. It did not disclose the estimated cost.
The U.S. Special Operations Command, or USSOCOM, is conducting a survey of potential logistics-service suppliers who already have “an office and warehouse on the African continent,” preferably in either Kenya or Uganda.
USSOCOM said it needs assistance in shipping weapons in and around and out of Africa, issuing a Request for Information to contractors that have “intimate & in-depth knowledge of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations in order to ship items to any country on a regular basis.”
The Special Forces activity is unrelated to other conflict-remediation initiatives in or near Kenya, such as a program to rein in chronic cattle rustling and other cultural practices such as killing rivals “to prove their manhood or impress young women.”
USAID in that instance instead recruited private contractors capable of stemming such behaviors through the use of “reflective workshops” and by providing “trauma education” to warring clans and tribes.