Cablegate: Parliamentary Caucus On Reforms Delegation to the U.S.
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O R 210931Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
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INFO IGAD COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NAIROBI 000073
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TAGS: PREL PGOV KDEM KE
SUBJECT: Parliamentary Caucus on Reforms Delegation to the U.S.
January 18 to 22
REF: 2009 SECRETARY 2; 2009 NAIROBI 1811; 2009 NAIROBI 2287
2009 NAIROBI 2539
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - ENTIRE TEXT.
1. This is an action request; please see paragraph 8 for meeting
2. Summary: At the invitation of the House Democracy Partnership
and with post's support, Kenya's Parliament is sending a delegation
of six leaders of the recently-formed Parliamentary Caucus on
Reforms (see paragraph 8 for bios) to visit the U.S. from February
8 to 12, 2010. The purpose of the delegation's visit is to consult
with policymakers on the reform agenda, develop contacts with key
think tank and NGO staff relevant to democratization in Kenya, and
to learn how caucuses and issue-based campaigns work within the
U.S. political system. Within the State Department, caucus leaders
are requesting meetings with the Secretary, Assistant Secretary
Carson, and working level officers whose portfolios include Kenya
or Somalia. The visit presents an important opportunity to
demonstrate U.S. support and strengthen the voice of political
leaders who are dedicated to advancing the reform agenda in Kenya.
3. The Parliamentary Caucus on Reforms was founded in October 2009.
During Secretary Clinton's visit to Nairobi in August three
reform-minded Members of Parliament (MPs) met with the Secretary
and Assistant Secretary Carson to push for the formation of an
opposition in Parliament. Rather than forming an opposition that
would further slow Kenya's legislative process, A/S Carson
suggested instead that the MPs consider establishing a "reform
caucus" (Ref A). Following the Secretary's visit, the MPs and Post
continued to discuss the idea of a reform caucus with influential
reformist Parliamentarians (Ref B). In late October at an American
Chamber of Commerce hosted breakfast, 17 MPs formally announced the
formation of the Parliamentary Caucus on Reforms (Ref C). The
caucus was subsequently recognized by the Speaker and now numbers
70 MPs out of 224, including four members of the influential
Parliamentary Select Committee. Two of the MPs who met with
Secretary Clinton and A/S Carson in August, Danson Mungatana and
Boni Khalwale, are members of the delegation (For a list of the
delegates and their biographies, please see paragraph 8).
4. The Caucus on Reforms has played a key role in advancing Agenda
4 reforms and encouraging compromise on the draft Constitution.
The caucus hosted daily luncheons in November to identify common
ground on the draft constitution, and won broad consensus for a
hybrid system of government. Although the caucus serves a critical
role by building connections and consensus between reform MPs, most
of its members are backbenchers and the caucus has struggled to
mobilize the requisite resources to seriously challenge anti-reform
elements in the government (Ref C).
5. At the invitation of the House Democracy Partnership and with
post's support, Kenya's Parliament is sending a delegation of six
leaders of the recently-formed Parliamentary Caucus on Reforms (see
paragraph 8 for bios) to visit Washington, DC from February 8 to
6. Within the State Department, caucus leaders are requesting
meetings with the Secretary, Assistant Secretary Carson, and
working level officers whose portfolios include Kenya or Somalia.
In Congress, the MPs have requested meetings with members of
relevant foreign relations committees, the House Democracy
Partnership, and staffers with expertise in caucusing and
issue-based advocacy. Additional meeting requests include USAID
officers covering Kenya, Africa staff at the International
Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute, the
Corporate Council on Africa, and several think tanks. (Note:
Specific meeting requests have been sent to the Kenya desk officer
by email. End note.)
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7. The delegates wish to discuss Kenya's progress on the reform
agenda while gaining the practical skills needed to build a nascent
caucus into a cohesive political movement for reform. The MPs are
likely to highlight the need for additional resources to support
civic education and media outreach in support of the draft
constitution and reform agenda.
8. The delegates will be accompanied by political officer Jonathan
Howard. Delegates include:
Danson Mungatana (Coast Province, NARC-K Party, Caucus for Reforms
Whip): Mungatana is the Secretary General of the NARC-Kenya party,
and represents Garsen constituency in Coast Province. In April
2009, Mungatana resigned as an Assistant Minister to protest
President Kibaki's unilateral appointment of judges to the High
Court. He was among the three MPs who met with Secretary Clinton
during her visit to Nairobi, and at the formation of the caucus was
selected as the whip. Mungatana has been outspoken in the media
highlighting government corruption, condemning the exacerbation of
ethnic tensions by political leaders, and supporting compromise in
the constitutional review process.
Boni Khalwale (Western Province, New Ford-Kenya Party): Khalwale
rose from poverty to earn a medical degree and establish a
successful private practice. In 2002 Khalwale left medicine and was
elected to represent Ikolomani constituency in Western Province.
As the chair of the Public Accounts Committee responsible for
oversight of government expenditures, Khalwale has earned the
nickname "the Bullfighter" for his aggressive pursuit of official
Margaret Kamar (Rift Valley Province, Orange Democratic Movement
Party): Kamar was elected in 2007 to represent Eldoret East
Constituency in Rift Valley Province, which witnessed some of the
worst violence during the election crisis. Kamar serves as the
secretary of the Caucus on Reforms and is a founding member of the
Amani Forum, an association of MPs dedicated to interethnic
reconciliation and peacebuilding in the Rift Valley.
Olago Aluoch (Nyanza Province, Orange Democratic Movement Party):
Olago Aluoch served as a magistrate during the Moi regime; he was
arrested and imprisoned for one year following his refusal to jail
political dissidents calling for multi-party democracy. In 2007,
Aluoch was elected to represent Kisumu Town West constituency in
Nyanza Province, and chairs the Tender and Procurement Oversight
Committee in Parliament. Aluoch was is a founding member of the
Caucus on Reforms and has been a strong voice for moderation and
compromise within the ODM party.
David Ngugi (Central Province, Party for National Unity/Sisi Kwa
Sisi): Ngugi enjoyed a successful business career before his
election to represent Kinangop Constituency in Central Province in
2007. A member of the Public Accounts and Local Authorities
Committees, Ngugi was the primary representative for Central
Province in the Caucus on Reforms constitutional debates and is a
key advocate for constitutional compromise within the PNU party.
Aden Duale (North Eastern Province, Orange Democratic Movement
Party): Duale worked as a secondary school teacher and then as
Director of the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation before being elected
to Parliament as representative of Dujis Constituency in North
Eastern Province. Duale is Assistant Minister for Livestock, and
the National Vice Chairman for Political Affairs in the ODM party.
In addition to his active role in the caucus discussions on the
constitution, Duale is concerned with promoting stability in
Somalia which borders his North Eastern Province.