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Cablegate: Pushing the Reform Process - Continued Outreach to The

VZCZCXRO2576
RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHNR #2376/01 3231222
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 191222Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1577
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NAIROBI 002376

DEPT FOR AF/E Driano

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958:N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KE
SUBJECT: Pushing the Reform Process - Continued Outreach to the
Kenyan People

1. Summary. As part of continued outreach activities, the Ambassador
and a Mission team visited Eldoret, Kitale, and Kapenguria in Rift
Valley November 13-14 to promote peace reconciliation and conflict
resolution, and to encourage domestic-driven pressure for
implementation of the reform agenda. Inter-active "town hall" type
forums were held with civil society, religious groups, and the
private sector, as well as with local officials, ordinary Kenyans,
and young people. Participants stressed their appreciation for U.S.
outreach to the grassroots and emphasized that the U.S. should
maintain and intensify pressure for reforms. End summary.

2. During November 13-14 a Mission team headed by the Ambassador,
visited Eldoret, Kitale, and Kapenguria in Rift Valley as part of
continuing outreach to encourage implementation of the reform
agenda, conflict resolution, and reconciliation.

--------------------------
Kalenjin Council of Elders
--------------------------

3. In Eldoret - which was a epicenter of post-election violence --
the team met with the newly formed Kalenjin Council of Elders. The
Council is an effort to create a new group of legitimate elders not
controlled or influenced by political forces. The elders have
adopted a charter committing themselves to promotion of Kalenjin
culture and development, peace and reconciliation across ethnic
lines. The Ambassador emphasized the need for civil society - as
demonstrated by the elders - to exert influence to help drive the
reform process and to help blunt politicians' efforts to manipulate
the population in favor of narrow political or ethnic-focused
agendas. The elders praised U.S. efforts to promote reconciliation
and reforms, and made clear their desire to maintain close touch.
After the elders conclude their initial deliberations, they will
seek a follow-up meeting with us.

------------------
Outreach in Kitale
------------------

4. In Kitale, in north Rift, the Mission team reached out to civil
society, religious groups, private sector representatives, and young
people. All of the meetings were inter-active "town hall" forum
type events. The outreach activities included a lunch with 20 civil
society organizations from the north rift, private sector meetings,
a large forum with several hundred mainly young people from the
community, a small evangelical church service, an impromptu
discussion with hundreds of other youth waiting outside the church,
a call-in hour-long radio show, and a dinner with local officials,
political and religious leaders, and others.

5. In all the fora, the Ambassador laid out U.S. views with respect
to the reform process. He noted some progress made, but highlighted
the need for the government to move with a greater sense of urgency
on key issues. He urged that Kenyans mobilize peaceful pressure
through the democratic system for implementation of reforms. He
pointed out that domestic pressure coupled with international
pressure will achieve results, but noted that civil society, the
private sector, religious groups, and the media have not come
together sufficiently to deliver a united concerted message to the
government (as they did so effectively to help end the post-election
crisis). Particularly with the youth, the Ambassador discussed the
linkage between the reform process and their future well-being (that
the economy will not grow and jobs will not be created without
stability, which can only be achieved through implementation of the
reform agenda).

6. All of the events involved wide-ranging discussions. Key points
made by participants were that civil society needs to be bolstered,
that there should be more U.S. visa bans, that pressure must be
maintained on the government by the U.S. and others, and that ethnic
tensions and conflict remain intense. Other interlocutors
emphasized the urgency of having a new constitution before 2012, but
they are concerned that the political class will hijack the process.
Although many interlocutors expressed a high degree of skepticism
regarding the possibility of achievQg major reforms, many were also
hopeful that, as one participant stated, there is a "silent
revolution" taking place among the Kenyan people that will result in
change. One interlocutor was fearful that the outcome of boundary
review is a "time-bomb" for inter-ethnic tension. Participants
commended the U.S. for "having the people of Kenya at heart," and
made clear they see U.S. efforts as supporting the "silent
revolution" underway. Participants also described a range of
positive activities being carried out at the grassroots level to
promote reconciliation and reform. The district peace committee,
with government support, is working with one of the national women's
organizations to promote inter-ethnic dialogue.

7. The outreach activities highlighted a particularly encouraging
development that we are seeing throughout the country: the
willingness of local officials (particularly the largely

NAIROBI 00002376 002 OF 002


professional district officers, provincial commissioners, local
police, and the area chiefs, but also some locally elected officials
like mayors and county councils) to support outreach efforts and to
say the right things about the need for reforms. The mayor and head
of the county council helped organize the outreach activities, along
with local organizations from Trans-Nzoia district.

9. At Kitale, the Mission team ran into the Commander of the
Administrative Police who was also planning to attend Tegla
Loroupe's peace run in Kapenguria. The Commander participated in
the dinner discussion with leaders of civil society, the regional
commander in charge of North Rift, local officials, and religious
leaders. He also participated in the peace run. During a
discussion with the Ambassador, he indicated that he appreciates the
utility of such events to reach out to people to promote a more
positive image for the police at a time when the government has
stated its intent to carry out police reform.

-------------------
Loroupe's Peace Run
-------------------

10. One of Kenya's most famous female athletes, Tegla Loroupe, has
organized a day of peace runs in her hometown of Kapenguria for the
past 7 years. A Mission team headed by the Ambassador has attended
these for the past 4 years, and we provide tangible assistance
through the MIST program. The run brings together hundreds of young
"warriors" from Loroupe's Pokot ethnic group and 6 other ethnic
groups including 2 ethnic groups from Uganda which have
traditionally engaged in conflict. The Minister of Youth and
Sports, local Members of Parliament, civic leaders, the Commander of
the Administrative Police, and 2 Ugandan government ministers
attended.

11. The event provided an opportunity for the Ambassador, and the
other dignitaries present as well, to emphasize peaceful competition
through sports, the importance of fostering national reconciliation,
and the need to implement the reform agenda. Although ethnic
conflict is still intense in the area due to issues like cattle
rustling and small arms smuggling, Loroupe's activities have had a
significant impact in reducing the level of violence, in encouraging
young men and women to turn their focus away from the traditional
violent warrior culture, to turn in weapons, and to reach out to one
another across ethnic lines. Along with the UK and EC, we are
supporting Loroupe's ongoing project to build a Peace Academy in
Kapenguria.

-------
Comment
-------

12. These outreach activities by the Ambassador and Mission teams
are a key element of our broader efforts to promote reconciliation
and conflict resolution, and to encourage peaceful domestic-driven
pressure for implementation of reforms. The growing amount of
requests we are receiving - from ordinary Kenyans, grassroots
organizations, and Members of Parliament - for such outreach visits
(and the concern that anti-reform forces supporting the culture of
impunity are expressing about them) testifies to their impact.

RANNEBERGER

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