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KENYA’S INTELLIGENCE SERVICE – KENYA’S PRESS, NO SERVICE

More revelations arising from the latest batch of Wikileaks, this time in The Star newspaper (March 21) revealing, surprise, surprise that President Kibaki thought he had won the last election and told US Assistant Secretary Jendayi Frazer and Ambassador Ranneberger so at two meetings in early January 2008.

What you will not have read in the Kenyan papers to date is a somewhat more interesting and surely newsworthy story gleaned from a Wikileak released on 18 March.

In the leaked confidential memo dated 10 November, 2009, from Ambassador Ranneberger to Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnnie Carson at the US State Department in Washington, the former revealed the opposition he was facing from high level government figures in Kenya to the embassy’s involvement and funding of youth organizations in the country and in particular its support for the National Youth Forum.

Ranneberger stated that President Kibaki, Minister of Security Saitoti, the then Foreign Minister Wetangula and Deputy Prime Minister Mudavadi had all expressed their opposition to the US embassy’s role in supporting the National Youth Forum and in particular its financial support for the holding of a proposed youth conference at the Kenyatta International Conference Center at which 600 young people from 66 youth organizations would be in attendance.

So far, so what? Well, Ranneberger then states that, ‘During the night of November 9 the offices of the DAI… were burglarized. In what was clearly a targeted operation, only 3 laptops containing information related to the National Youth Forum were taken (despite the presence of much expensive equipment and valuables)’, and that, ‘the operation has all the hallmarks of the National Security and Intelligence Service…’

The DAI, if you don’t know, is the Development Alternative Inc. which was the USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives’ ‘primary contractor providing the funding and support to the youth organizations for the holding of the Forum’. (Some readers may also recall that the DAI was implicated by a US Senate investigation in channelling $3m to the ‘Yes’ campaign during the constitutional referendum).

So why isn’t this front page news, or at least major news? After all, the US Ambassador is accusing Kenya’s National Security and Intelligence Service of burglary and stealing computers from a US agency, implicitly at least, at the behest of senior politicians.

The answer, the Kenya Forum thinks, is good old incompetence and laziness by the Kenyan press.

The Wikileaks have been published in cooperation with Germany’s Der Spiegal and the UK’s Guardian newspapers. The Kenyan press then reports what they have found out once it has been published. It may not save time but it does save work and doesn’t require anything like, oh what shall we call it, journalistic expertise or even intelligence.

President Kenyatta declared winner.

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