An investigation by three Republican congressmen has revealed the Obama administration has secretly spent $23 million of U.S. taxpayer dollars in Kenya to fund a "Yes" vote on a constitutional referendum scheduled for Aug. 4 that would increase access to abortions in Kenya and establish legal status for Islamic law tribunals.
Meanwhile, trusted sources in Kenya tell WND that the White House has used Vice President Joseph Biden's trip to Kenya in June and the office of U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Michael E. Ranneberger to put out the message that passage of the referendum would enable the White House to open the floodgates to allow millions of dollars of additional U.S. government aid and private investment capital to flow into Kenya.
Last week, in response to inquiries from Reps. Chris Smith, R-N.J., Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., and Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the U.S. Agency for International Development admitted to spending more than $23 million of U.S. taxpayer money to influence voters in Kenya to pass the highly contentious 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 the existing abortion law. It 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." That language, Sagnip said, is "obviously vague" and riddled with "blatant loopholes."
The proposed constitution would also 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, or Islamic 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.
WND previously reported that in the 2007 presidential campaign in Kenya, Raila Odinga – the presidential candidate of the Orange Democratic Party and a Luo tribesman like Obama's father – signed an undisclosed memorandum of understanding with radical Muslims in Kenya to expand Islamic law within the country in exchange for Muslim support of his candidacy.
As reported by Ecumenical News International in the U.K., many Kenyans believe the provision in the proposed referendum that would establish Kadhi Courts is a fulfillment of the agreement Odinga made with Sheik Abdullah Abdi, the chairman of the National Muslim Leaders Forum.
U.S. taxpayers support "Yes" vote
According to Smith's office, the AID inspector general had identified the following programs with direct ties to supporting the "Yes" vote the Obama administration had funded in Kenya:
- Provincial Peace Forum, Eastern Providence: $97,633.33 to "gain buy-in for the new proposed constitution by educating the professional elites in Isiolo South Constituency about its benefits and getting their commitment to use their influence to ensure people register and vote 'Yes' at the referendum."
- Central Organization of Trade Unions, Kenya: $91,106.66 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."
- Provincial Commissioner North Eastern Province: $99,220 for "one of a series of activities that aim to contribute to an 'overrepresentation' of the 'Yes' voters at the next referendum. Specifically, (AID's Office of Transition Initiatives) will provide support to the office of the Provincial Commissioner in the form of transportation and fuel."
- Kenya Muslim Youth Alliance: $56,953.33 for "one of a series of activities that aim to contribute to an 'overrepresentation' of the 'Yes' voters at the next referendum. Specifically, (AID's Office of Transition Initiatives) will provide support to Kenya Muslims Youth Alliance in the form of transportation and communications."
- Provincial Peace Forum, Rift Valley Province: $94,193.33 to "build on previous activities in the North Rift as an entry point for a 'Yes' campaign on the constitution. Specifically, this activity will serve to gain buy-in for the new proposed constitution by getting the professional elites' commitment."
- Intercommunity Peace Choir Organization: $38,600 for "one of a series of activities aimed at facilitating registration of approximately 20,000 in cosmopolitan areas occupied by (internally displaced persons) for a 'Yes' vote at the next referendum."
- North Rift Theatre Ambassadors: $37,773.33 for "one of a series of activities aimed at facilitating registration of approximately 20,000 in cosmopolitan areas of Uasin Gishu, namely Turbo, Maili Maili Nne-Chepkanaga, and Huruma divisions for a 'Yes' vote at the next referendum."
- Amani Peoples Theatre: $41,400 for "one of a series of activities aimed at facilitating registration of approximately 20,000 in Kachiliba and Psigor Constituencies–North Pokot for a 'Yes' vote at the next referendum."
- Christian Community Services: $37,466.67 for "one of a series of activities aimed at facilitating registration of approximately 20,000 in the three Constituencies of Turkana South, Central and North for a 'Yes' vote at the next referendum."
- Pokot Outreach Ministries: $38,133.34 for "one of a series of activities aimed at facilitating registration of approximately 20,000 additional voters in the entire Constituency of Kapenguria for a 'Yes' vote at the next referendum."
"By funding (nongovernmental organizations) with obtaining 'yes' votes, the administration has crossed the line," Smith said last week in a statement. "Directly supporting efforts to register 'yes' voters and 'get out the yes vote' means the U.S. government is running a political campaign in Kenya. U.S. taxpayer funds should not be used to support one side or the other."
The Standard in Kenya reported Kenyan Higher Education Minister William Ruto, who is leading the "Red" team opposing the Kenyan constitutional referendum, has accused Ambassador Ranneberger of crossing the "no-go-zone for foreign diplomats."
In defending his actions, Ranneberger argued he was operating within his diplomatic orbit, but "more so because the U.S. is a friend of Kenya and is pro-reform," according to the report published by the Standard.
"Ranneberger maintained he was a friend of Kenya and would therefore not shy away from pointing out the lies being propagated by the 'No' team," the Standard wrote.
"Separated by a few kilometers from another meeting, where Ruto was selling his views against the draft, the envoy promised to continue helping the push for reforms," the paper said. "The American ambassador again pointed out Obama was interested in ensuring the country embraces reforms to pave way for better governance, improved livelihood for citizens."
Obama's links to Odinga
The Obama administration's funding of Kenyan internal politics appears to follow a pattern then-Sen. 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 reported.
WND reported in 2008 that Obama raised almost $1 million for Odinga during the run-up to Kenya's 2007 presidential election.
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 church in the village of Eldoret, about 185 miles northwest of Nairobi. The mob 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 Odinga's electoral defeat.
Instead, Obama worked with former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to end the violence by creating for Odinga the position of prime minister – a position not defined in the Kenyan constitution – so Odinga could become co–head of state with Kibaki.
As recently as 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 Kibaki and Odinga for their roles in the postelection violence.