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US Gov't IS Funding the Kenya 'Yes' Campaign

by Staff
July 19, 2010
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WASHINGTON, (christiansunite.com) -- A series of U.S. taxpayer-funded agreements awarded to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) by the Obama Administration clearly contradicts recent statements issued by the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi claiming neutrality in the Kenya constitutional referendum scheduled for a vote in early August.

"There is no doubt that the Obama Administration is funding the 'yes' campaign in Kenya," said Rep. Chris Smith, one of three U.S. lawmakers who have requested an investigation into U.S. activities leading up to the referendum on a proposed constitution that would liberalize the abortion law in Kenya.

"By funding NGOs charged with obtaining 'yes' votes, the Administration has crossed the line," he said.

"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."

As part of ongoing discussions with the Office of the Inspector General of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Representatives Smith (Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee), and Darrell Issa (Ranking Member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee) received a chart listing USAID funding recipients and a summary of their agreements.

For example, two organizations are receiving over $150,000 to "contribute to an 'overrepresentation' of the YES voters," and five organizations have been charged with registering a total of 100,000 "for a YES vote" at the referendum. Other Kenyan groups are being given funding for similar YES vote efforts.

"The draft constitution, with its controversial provisions expanding access to abortion, is a matter for the Kenyan people to consider and decide," Smith said. "The Obama Administration should immediately withdraw all U.S. taxpayer funding used to buy votes and influence the outcome on the referendum."

The following information was included on the chart provided by the IG's office:

· 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 (COTU). $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, OTI will provide support to the office of the Provincial Commissioner (PC) in the form of transportation and fuel."

· Kenya Muslim Youth Alliance (KMYA). $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, OTI will provide support to Kenya Muslims Youth Alliance (KMYA) 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."

· Inter community 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 IDPs 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."

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