'No' team attacks US envoy over Kenya new law

Special Programmes minister Naomi Shaban (right) gives her contribution to her Higher Education counterpart William Ruto during the 'No' fundraiser at the Public Service Club, Nairobi July, 1 2010 . The team raised Sh 6.6 million to fund its referendum campaigns. Photo/PHOEBE OKALL

US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger has come under scathing attack for allegedly interfering with the Kenyan constitutional review process.

Special Programmes minister Naomi Shabaan said Mr Ranneberger has been going round the country campaigning for the proposed constitution completely oblivious of his role as the US envoy.

“We know we are a sovereign country and we should be able to deal with our issues without outside interference from foreign countries,” said Dr Shabaan during a No fundraiser at the Public Service Club, Nairobi Friday.

She said the proposed constitution was foreign on issues touching on marriage and insisted that she would not allow the new law to pass and disorganise the institution of marriage in the country.

Dr Shabaan, who was the chief guest in the fundraiser that helped raise Sh6.6 million to finance No referendum campaigns, accused Mr Ranneberger of going behind the back of politicians opposed to the proposed constitution and inciting people against them.

"He was in my constituency recently asking people whether I was doing my work well, I want to challenge him to seek Kenyan citizenship and come and contest against me in Taveta, the people in the constituency would not mind electing a mzungu (white man)" said Dr Shabaan.

Foreign pressure

She said the US had not delivered on the Sh2 billion it had pledged for the internally displaced persons (IDPs), yet it was vey vocal on the proposed constitution.

Higher Education minister William Ruto, while echoing Dr Shabaan's sentiments, said those in support of the proposed constitution were in agreement with them that the document was bad but were simply yielding to foreign pressure.

Mr Ruto said the No team were clear in their minds that the proposed constitution had contentious clauses that need amendment before Kenyans usher a new constitutional dispensation.

He said the fact that Kenyans had yearned for a new constitution for 20 years was no reason for the country to accept a faulty constitution.

“We have decided to stand on the right side of history for standing against a divisive, contentious and controversial constitution and insist on a constitution uniting Kenyans” said Mr Ruto.

Big surprise

He said on August 4, the referendum date, Kenyans will reject the faulty document and that no country had ever won a contest against the Church.

“In August, this country will wake up to a big surprise, many people we have interacted have vowed to reject this constitution and they are not going back on that promise.”

Mr Ruto said after the proposed constitution is rejected, everyone will be humbled and will gather at a roundtable for dialogue, which will eventually lead to a better constitution for Kenya.

Dr Shabaan gave Sh950,000 while Mr Ruto contributed Sh1million.

Former President Moi sent Sh500,000 through former nominated MP Mark Too, who gave Sh 50,000, while his son Gideon Moi donated Sh1 million.

Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo gave Sh200,000.

MPs Charles Keter, Mutava Musyimi, Isaac Ruto, Fred Kapondi, Wifred Machage and Kiema Kilonzo contributed Sh100,000 each.

Legislators Sammy Mwaita, Joshua Kutuny, Peris Simam, Julius Kones, Zakayo Cheruyoit, Boaz Kiano, Victor Munyaka, David Koech, all gave Sh50,000.

Assistant minister Bishop Margaret Wanjiru also contributed Sh 50,000 the same amount as Kiambaa MP Stanley Githunguri.