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Cablegate: Security Minister On Police Reform and Public Outreach

DE RUEHNR #0350/01 0481209
R 171208Z FEB 10



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Security Minister on Police Reform and Public Outreach



1. Summary: Following up on the Ambassador's meetings with
Minister of Security Saitoti, DCM Lee Brudvig met with the minister
on February 3 to discuss his request for assistance with police
reform efforts. In addition to presenting a list of requests for
his ministry (ranging from additional police vehicles to guns to
development assistance), Saitoti emphasized first and foremost his
desire to have the United States assist his efforts to improve
public perception of his ministry. The DCM emphasized that any
public relations strategy must be built on genuine reform, and
offered continued assistance in implementation of the reform agenda
alongside assistance with PR strategy. The DCM presented an
opportunity for a member of Kenya's security services to attend the
FBI's National Academy (FBINA) and reiterated our longstanding
offer to embed an FBI officer within Kenyan Police Services
Anti-Terrorism Unit. Saitoti's stated desire to improve the image
of his ministry, combined with his presidential ambitions, provide
an opportunity to further advance our interests in the security
sector, linking our support for improving public relations to
genuine reform in areas of internal and external oversight,
community policing, and rule of law. End summary.

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2. On February 3, Minister of State for Provincial Administration
and Internal Security George Saitoti and Permanent Secretary
Francis Kimemia met with DCM Lee Brudvig to discuss Saitoti's
request for assistance in improving the public perception of the
ministry of internal security. Minister Saitoti began the meeting
by referencing the report of the National Task Force on Police
Reform (NTFPR) (see ref B), stressing the need to improve
accountability, and asserting that recommendations from the NTFPR
were being implemented. However, he stressed several times his
primary interest in U.S. assistance was in the area of improving
the police's public relations outreach and strategy.

3. When asked by the DCM how the security services were viewed,
Saitoti said he was "trying to reform police that don't have a very
good name." He then highlighted several areas for potential
reform, the first of which was changing police culture so that "the
police are seen by the people as having a friendly role for them,"
thus ensuring people feel comfortable and safe reporting issues to
the police. He also discussed a need for more vehicles, both to
better patrol the border with Somalia and to respond more quickly
to crimes throughout Kenya. As evidence of reform, Saitoti said he
had changed the senior leadership within the police department, but
conceded that the public still needed to see more change within the
police system. He stated that in order to conduct public
diplomacy, he wanted to hire a PR firm, but would need money to do
so. He asked what the United States was willing to do to help, but
said he did not want the United States to be seen as being "in the
driver's seat" on police reform.

4. The DCM referenced Ambassador Ranneberger's efforts to reach out
to Kenyan youth, and spoke of the importance of both youth and
rural populations, arguing that genuine reform and public outreach
are matters of "political necessity." Saitoti commended Ambassador
Ranneberger for "his excellent work that we much appreciate." He
noted that he is also working with other ministries on development
strategies, most notably a food security strategy. He said that he
has appropriated a large amount of money to fast-track
organizational and legislative reforms but needs help in
implementing programs and building capacity, something he said he
cannot do without external assistance and advice. He noted that he
also plans to approach other donors. In response, the DCM noted
our willingness to assist, but stressed that Kenyan authorities
must come up with compelling messages derived from real actions.


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5. The DCM suggested two specific "confidence building" partnership
initiatives: (1) Offering an opportunity for a senior member of the
Kenyan security services to attend the FBI's National Academy
(FBINA) training in Quantico, and/or (2) Embedding an FBI officer
within the Kenyan security services in order to facilitate capacity
building and intelligence sharing, focusing on counter terrorism.
Saitoti thanked the DCM for the offers, and said he was "quite
happy" to have someone attend FBINA. Regarding the offer of an
embedded FBI officer, Saitoti said that anti-terrorism efforts in
Kenya lack sophistication and capacity, but that he saw the
embedded FBI officer as a way of formalizing initial steps that had
already been taken by GOK and the United States. The permanent
secretary then reminded Saitoti of existing United States programs
supporting internal security, and both he and Saitoti repeated
their request for more financial assistance, especially with regard
to border security.


6. Kimemia and Saitoti requested additional funding for (1)
disaster management, especially with regard to training; (2) crime
scene management; (3) community policing, especially with regard to
cattle rustling in the Northern provinces; and (4) overall economic
development as a means to offer economic alternatives to youth.
Regarding community policing, the permanent secretary said it is an
effective model for Kenya, citing detection of third country
nationals illegally present in Kenya and drug trafficking concerns
as areas where community policing could be especially effective.
Saitoti said he was very happy with progress regarding community
policing, but then returned to broader development goals, saying
"We give you a broad menu, because as Americans you have a broad
capacity for it." He then referenced Undersecretary Otero's
emphasis on youth development, and said microfinance for youth was
an effective program and asked for more partnership from the United
States in that area. Finally, the permanent secretary also asked
the DCM if the United States would donate firearms to the security


7. The DCM offered to discuss these issues with both the Public
Diplomacy section and Military Information Support Team and bring
them to a future meeting to be held soon, along with legal,
military, and security advisors. (Note: Post hopes to include the
members of the upcoming INL law enforcement sector assessment team
in these discussions.) Additionally, the DCM said he would
communicate with the permanent secretary to arrange a meeting with
a broad range of Embassy representatives to brainstorm, and LEGATT
would reach out to the permanent secretary regarding FBI officer
embedding and FBINA.


8. Saitoti clearly wants to work more closely with the United
States in an effort to get out front on police reform and ride the
wake of our successful outreach efforts, but to do so in a discreet
way that allows him to distinguish himself and his ministry. He
continues to express support for the reform agenda, but it remains
to be seen the extent to which he seeks genuine reform. Saitoti
has made it clear that he harbors presidential ambitions for 2012.
However, his ministry is viewed as one of most corrupt in Kenya,
and he recognizes that he must be perceived as a reformer in order
to mount a viable candidacy. He also recognizes that he cannot
achieve his objectives without our support and perceives the United
States as an essential partner. This opens a window of
opportunity for us to advance our security and development
objectives, insisting on a "quid pro quo" approach where ramping up
of our efforts is married to - and contingent upon - progress on
reform in areas of special interest, such as community policing,
implementation of internal affairs and oversight mechanisms, and
training regarding basic police skills and professionalism, police
ethics, codes of conduct, and use of force policies (see ref A).

9. We are encouraged by Saitoti's commitment to community policing

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and see this as an obvious area of overlap between his objectives
and ours. Saitoti has also expressed support for increased
training and oversight as a means to improve the security services'
image. We remain convinced that establishing effective internal
and external police oversight mechanisms is absolutely essential to
real police reform, and will continue to urge Saitoti and the
newly-appointed members of the Police Reform Implementation
Commission to tackle difficult issues like police corruption and
excessive use of force. Post respectfully reiterates its request
for additional funding (see ref A) to support essential reforms
within the police and security services. End comment.

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