Cablegate: Kenya & Somalia Scenesetter for Visit of a/S


DE RUEHNR #0927/01 0581149
R 271149Z FEB 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Welcome to Kenya, a stable, dynamic
democracy and a key regional partner for the United
States. Our partnership with Kenya focuses on five major
goals: cooperate to fight insecurity and terrorism;
combat disease and save lives; promote prosperity, fight
poverty and invest in people; advance shared democratic
values, human rights, and good governance; and
collaborate to foster peace and stability in East Africa.
While corruption, insecurity and inter-ethnic conflict
remain major obstacles to Kenya achieving the aspirations
of its citizens, there is a positive process of change
underway that our partnership is designed to support.

2. (SBU) In addition to managing this robust bilateral
partnership with Kenya, the U.S. Mission in Nairobi also
has the mandate to implement U.S. policy in Somalia. The
U.S. has three principal goals in Somalia: support the
establishment of a stable national government based on
national reconciliation; promote security and stability
on the ground - which includes combating terrorism; and
respond to the humanitarian needs of the Somali people.
These goals are mutually reinforcing. END SUMMARY.

U.S. Mission Kenya: A Vital Regional Platform

3. (U) The U.S. Mission in Kenya serves as a vital
regional platform to promote U.S. interests throughout
much of Africa. It is the largest U.S. diplomatic
mission in sub-Saharan Africa, comprising 18 federal
government agencies or offices, most of which have
regional mandates. Among these agencies are the U.S.
Agency for International Development/East Africa,
Peace Corps, Library of Congress, Center for Disease
Control, and the Departments of State, Defense,
Commerce, Agriculture, Homeland Security and Justice.

4. (U) Aside from our bilateral relationships with Kenya
and Somalia, described below, U.S. Mission Kenya also
represents the USG to United Nations bodies headquartered
in Nairobi (UNEP and U.N. Habitat) and engages with
diplomatic missions and international NGOs involved in
promoting peace, stability and development in southern
Sudan and the Great Lakes region.

The U.S.-Kenya Partnership

5. (U) Our partnership with Kenya focuses on five major
goals: cooperate to fight insecurity and terrorism;
combat disease and save lives; promote prosperity,
fight poverty and invest in people; advance shared
democratic values, human rights, and good governance;
and collaborate to foster peace and stability in East
Africa. U.S. foreign assistance to Kenya is geared
to achieving these goals. That assistance came to
about $480 million in 2006. It is expected to rise to
$550 million this year.

6. (U) The U.S. private sector also has a robust
relationship with Kenya. Bilateral trade in 2006
amounted to $800 million. U.S. investments in
Kenya total about $300 million. The American
Chamber of Commerce in Kenya actively promotes
corporate social responsibility by its member firms,
which account for about ten percent of Kenya's GDP.

7. (U) There were 86,500 American tourists in Kenya
in 2006. About 6,000 Americans live in Kenya.

Counter-Terrorism: Priority Number One

8. (SBU) Al-Qaeda bombed our Embassy on August 7, 1998.
It also attacked an Israeli-owned hotel and Israeli
chartered aircraft in Kenya in 2002. Al-Qaeda retains
the ability to operate in and around Kenya. Working
with Kenya against the threat from terrorism remains
the first priority on our bilateral agenda. We have
provided training to the Department of Public
Prosecutions. We have provided civil aviation security
and safety equipment and training to Kenyan agencies
under the Safe Skies for Africa program. The U.S. Navy
Maritime Operations and Training Coastal Security
Program with the Kenyan Navy, Police, and Kenyan
Wildlife Service is the only inter-ministerial
counter-terrorism effort in Kenya. Our Anti-terrorism
Assistance (ATA) office has established a robust police
training program, and a coastal security program that
promises to improve Kenya's capacity to secure its
extensive coastline, through the combined efforts of

ATA, the Kenya-U.S. Liaison Office (KUSLO), the
Djibouti-based Combined Task Force-Horn of Africa
(CJTF-HOA), the Defense Attache's Office (DAO), and
the Economic and Political sections. Cooperation with
the Kenyan Government on this program is excellent and
should serve as a model for such multi-sectoral
projects. As a top priority, our counter-terrorism
efforts benefit from the cooperation of all Mission
agencies, including DOJ's Resident Legal Advisor, FBI,
USAID, and DHS. CJTF-HOA Civil Affairs teams have
been active in Kenya since 2003, providing humanitarian
assistance and building infrastructure in the poorest
and most remote regions of the country.

9. (SBU) Polling data consistently shows that violent
crime is a top concern of Kenyan voters while terrorism
does not figure at all as an issue of concern to them.
Kenya's political leadership shares this perspective.
Members of the U.S. Mission and their family members
have been severely wounded and killed in criminal
attacks in recent months. We fully understand why the
topic of insecurity resonates more with the Kenyan
public than does the topic of terrorism. The resource
increases and reforms required for the judicial and law
enforcement sectors to better respond to the terrorist
threat would equally promote improved response to
threats to the general public posed by violent criminal
gangs. We find that the most effective way to advocate
for the necessary resource increases and legislation is
to speak in terms of addressing Kenya's chronic
insecurity threats, of which terrorism is but a part.

10. (SBU) Kenya, nonetheless, has an international
obligation to enact counter-terrorism and anti-money
laundering legislation in accordance with the UN
conventions it has signed. The issue of
counter-terrorism legislation has become controversial
in Kenya, with elements of the press, the political
class, the human rights community, and Muslim leadership
criticizing such legislation as anti-Muslim. The
Government of Kenya has not institutionalized the
necessary integrated legal framework nor organized a
joint counter-terrorism task force of police and
prosecutors, despite significant U.S. financial support
and advocacy. Military aspects of our counter-terrorism
activities, particularly training, suffered a loss of
funds due to Kenya's failure to conclude an Article 98
agreement. The lack of an overarching Kenyan
counter-terrorism strategy and legal framework limits
the impact of our efforts.

Military Cooperation Strong

11. (SBU) Despite Kenya's ratification of the Rome
Treaty and failure thus far to conclude an Article 98
Agreement with the U.S. (which effectively froze IMET
and FMF for Kenya as of March 2005), the
military-military relationship remains strong. (Note:
A Presidential waiver restored IMET in SEP 06.) Our
cooperation includes training, combined exercises,
some provision of equipment, an intelligence exchange
program, and senior DOD visits. Our strong support of
the Kenyan military also includes the African
Contingency Operations Training Assistance Program
(ACOTA) which prepares Kenyan battalions for United
Nations or African Union mandated peace-keeping
deployments with training and equipment.

Politics: Intense Campaigning by Two Unstable Coalitions
--------------------------------------------- -----------

12. (SBU) This is an election year in Kenya. Kenyan
politics is evolving into a system of two unstable
coalitions fiercely competing for power. Ethnic voting
blocs, patronage and money, rather than issues and
ideology, dominate politics. While most observers favor
President Mwai Kibaki's chances of re-election,
conventional wisdom may change if the opposition unites
behind a candidate with national popularity. However,
the opposition Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya may have
difficulty retaining its unity once it makes a choice
among its contending presidential aspirants. Neither
coalition can be counted on to observe electoral codes
of conduct or practice self-restraint. There is a
distinct danger of politicians inciting ethnic
animosity for political mobilization purposes.

13. (U) Following the election in 2002 of President
Mwai Kibaki, political space and civil liberties
increased dramatically, a far cry from the torture

chambers and political imprisonments of the preceding
24 years under former President Daniel arap Moi. With
greatly improved respect for human rights, a variety of
media and civil society organizations thrive, measuring
the performance of the government by higher standards
than in the past. Kenyans themselves demand and expect
democratic behavior from their government. This was
vividly demonstrated during the constitutional referendum
of late 2005 during which voters demonstrated their ability
to (mostly peacefully) oppose a largely government-supported
initiative. It was also seen in the public outcry against
the government's attack on free media during the March 2006
raids on the Standard Media House. Other good governance
success stories are the effectiveness and independence of
the Electoral Commission of Kenya, which the Mission has
assisted, and the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights.
Particularly in light of public exposure of two massive
corruption scandals in mid-2004 and early 2006, Parliament
has more fully assumed its role of checking the power of
the executive through oversight committees. The executive,
however, continues to wield considerable power over the

14. (SBU) Kenya continues to be led by politicians who
came of age during the colonial era. President Kibaki,
his Vice President and his Ministers of Defense and of
Security (among other cabinet members) were all in their
30s when Kenya achieved independence in 1963. The three
top opposition leaders, as well as the "young Turks" of
the Kibaki administration, were all teenagers or young
children at the time of independence. Kenya is in the
midst of a crucial generational transition of political
leadership that will be fully realized following either
the 2007 or, at the latest, the 2012 general elections.
Kenya since independence has developed one of Africa's
most vibrant civil societies and most highly educated
electorates (73 percent adult literacy). The country's
future political leadership will better reflect
post-independence Kenyan society.

15. (SBU) There are several long-awaited pieces of
legislation pending before Parliament of particular
interest to the United States. The draft Anti-Money
Laundering Bill, is required for Kenya to meet its
international obligations and to strengthen efforts against
corruption, drug trafficking, and terrorism. Also awaiting
discussion in Parliament are a bill providing for public
access to government information, viewed as a key
anti-corruption mechanism; and a bill which would permit
the funding of political parties from government coffers
to level the playing field and reduce pressures to raise
campaign funds through corruption. We are also advocating
on behalf of pending anti-trafficking in persons
legislation, labor reforms and legislation to address the
growing problem of narcotics trafficking.

The Economy: Corruption Holding Back Development
--------------------------------------------- ---

16. (U) The Kenyan economy grew by an estimated six percent
in 2006, continuing a steady economic recovery that began
in 2002 after over a decade of debilitating economic
stagnation in the 1990s. The current expansion is fairly
broad-based, and is built on a stable macro-environment
fostered by government, and the resilience, resourcefulness,
and improved confidence of the private sector. The recovery,
however, is just that - a recovery phase that began from a
low base of economic activity in 2002. Growth needs to be
higher, and on a sustained basis, to begin to noticeably
reduce poverty. Currently, 56 percent of Kenyans live on a
dollar-a-day or less and unemployment/under-employment is
also about 50 percent. Accelerating growth to achieve Kenya's
potential will require continued de-regulation of business,
improved delivery of government services, massive investment
in new infrastructure (especially roads), reduction of chronic
insecurity caused by crime, and improved economic governance
generally (see below).

17. (U) Tourism is now Kenya's top economic sector,
followed by flowers, tea and coffee. Africa is Kenya's
largest export market, followed by the EU. Kenya is the
regional center for industry and services, with Mombasa
handling imports and exports for the whole region.
Critical to more rapid growth in Kenya and the wider
region is expanded capacity and improved efficiency at
Mombasa Port, which despite some improvements since 2002
remains plagued by mismanagement and corruption.

18. (U) Kenya continues to benefit from the Africa Growth
and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Its apparel industry is
struggling to hold its ground against Asian competition

following the renewal by Congress in November 2006 of the
AGOA third country fabric provision, meant to provide more
time to develop local cotton and fabric production that
meets the buyers' rigorous standards. Kenya's main exports
to the U.S. are AGOA-program garments.

19. (U) Rains in 2006 ended two previous years of drought
and avoided rationing of hydro-electric power. Kenya
nonetheless faces profound environmental challenges brought
on by high population growth, deforestation, shifting
climate patterns, and the overgrazing of cattle in marginal
areas in the north and west of the country. Significant
portions of the population will continue to require
emergency food assistance in the coming years.

20. (SBU) Corruption is the greatest challenge facing the
Kenyan economy. In the first year after taking office, the
new government took some bold action, including passing
important anti-corruption legislation and removing nearly
half of the country's judges following allegations of
corruption. However, the expectations of dramatic
action against grand scale senior-level corruption
(Anglo-Leasing and Goldenberg cases) have not been met.
There have been only a few prosecutions of senior officials
from either the former or the current regime for
corruption, despite ample evidence of wrongdoing and public
outcry, in particular following the publication of reports
in early 2006 detailing the extent of the rot. However,
Kenya's press, civil society, Parliament, and general
public have shown that they will not suffer quietly while
the country's coffers are emptied. The revelations of
corruption scandals by an opposition MP and the press,
commonly referred to by the name of the fictitious
financial corporation involved - i.e., Anglo-Leasing -
are noteworthy because they demonstrate more space for
public criticism in Kenya.

21. (SBU) Confronting corruption in the government is a
high priority for the U.S. Mission in Kenya. As part of
our support for Kenyan anti-corruption efforts, the Mission
helped create the Department of Public Prosecutions' (DPP)
specialized anti-corruption unit and has supported training
and other capacity building activities. Parliament has
contributed a moderate degree of accountability and has
questioned the effectiveness of the government's
anti-corruption institutions. The Mission supports a
legislative strengthening program designed to empower key
committees and promote quality legislation.

HIV/AIDS and the President's Emergency Plan

22. (U) The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief
achieved impressive advances in 2006, and those successes
continue in 2007. Kenya has the second largest
single-country PEPFAR program in the world. Five Mission
elements coordinated their programs to implement USD 208
million worth of activities in the areas of prevention,
treatment and care in 2006. Thanks in part to efforts with
our Kenyan partners, the HIV prevalence rate among adults
declined from 6.8 percent in 2003 to 6.1 percent in 2005
(UNAIDS). PEPFAR's impressive results include an increase
in the number of U.S.-supported anti-retroviral treatment
(ART) sites from three to more than 200 in just over two
years. In 2006, PEPFAR funding bought drugs for 58,000 of
the estimated 111,000 Kenyans on ART. By the end of 2007,
we will be directly supporting over 70,000 Kenyans on ART.

Kenya?s Ethnic & Religious Demographics

23. (U) Kenya's population of 34 million is comprised of
over forty ethnic groups representing three of Africa's
major socio-linguistic families (Bantu, Nilotic and
Cushitic). The two largest and most politically relevant
communities are the Kikuyu (mostly pro-government) and
the Luo (mostly pro-opposition).

24. (U) Kenya's religious demographics are roughly 80
percent Christian, 10 percent Muslim and 10 percent other
(mostly African traditional religions). Most Kenyan
Muslims practice a moderate, often Sufi-influenced Islam.
While a handful of Kenyan Muslims have been radicalized,
imported radical dogma has not been widely embraced.


25. (U) The U.S. Mission in Kenya has the mandate to
implement U.S. policy in Somalia. Many of Somalia's
political leaders maintain residences in Nairobi. The

United Nation's political office for Somalia is located
in Nairobi as are the "Somalia Affairs" offices of
most major multilateral organizations and diplomatic
missions. Kenya is the current Chair of the
InterGovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which
has a mandate from the African Union (AU) to promote
peace, stability and national reconciliation in Somalia.
Kenya is an active participant in Somalia diplomacy and
security issues.

26. (SBU) The U.S. has three principal goals in Somalia:
support the establishment of a stable national government
based on national reconciliation; promote security and
stability on the ground - which includes combating
terrorism; and respond to the humanitarian needs of the
Somali people. These goals are mutually reinforcing.
Somalia will not be stable as long as foreign terrorists
are active there. Similarly, achieving a stable national
government will help ensure that Somalia is not exploited
as a base of operations by foreign terrorists. Helping
the Somali people to counter the impact of drought,
flooding, and near-continuous warfare for the past 15
years, and to address their development aspirations, will
contribute to achieving a firm foundation for a lasting
national government.

27. (SBU) Kenya took the lead, through the
InterGovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), in
the Somali National Reconciliation Conference that took
place over 23 months in Kenya. Since the conclusion of
the conference, Kenya has continued to support the
strengthening of the Somali Transitional Federal
Government (TFG) and institutions (TFIs) which emerged
from the conference and were established in 2004. As a
result of Ethiopia's intervention in late December 2006,
the Islamic Courts that controlled most of southern and
central Somalia during the second half of 2006 collapsed.
In early January 2007 the TFG moved its capital from Baidoa
back to Mogadishu and began a process of establishing
governing bodies and appointing administrative officials.
Early assessments of efforts by President Yusuf and Prime
Minister Gedi to reach out to all segments of Somali society
to establish a broad-based government have been mixed.

28. (SBU) Ethiopian forces, whose presence is widely
opposed within Somalia, have remained to provide
security until such time as either an AU peace
support mission is deployed within Somalia or TFG
capacity to provide security is greatly improved.
At this time, only Uganda has agreed to provide troops
for an African peace support mission. The AU, Kenya,
and the U.S. are soliciting additional contributions of
troops from African nations in order to stand up a peace
support mission as soon as possible. The U.S., UNDP and
European partners are working to enhance the capacity of
TFG police and security forces to provide security.

Strong Reasons to be Upbeat about East Africa

29. (U) Kenya's renewed economic vitality and new-found
democratic space give us strong reasons for optimism
about its prospects for real progress toward achieving
the aspirations of its people. Likewise, we see cause
for optimism that Somalia may be on the verge of finally
achieving stability, national reconciliation and re-entry
into the international community, shedding its status as
a refuge and launching pad for global terrorism. This is
an exciting time to visit U.S. Mission Kenya. Welcome!


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