Größtes Flüchtlingslager der Welt: Das Drama von Dadaab
Eine halbe Million Menschen drängt sich auf engstem Raum - in sengender Hitze, unterernährt, vom Krieg in Somalia traumatisiert: So sieht er aus, der erschütternde Alltag in Dadaab, dem größten Flüchtlingslager der Welt. Mitten im Chaos kämpfen freiwillige Helfer um einen Funken Normalität.
Sie haben das Loch besonders tief gemacht, damit die Hyänen Mohammed nicht ausgraben. In ein weißes Tuch gewickelt, legen sie den kleinen Leichnam in die Grube. Auch vor einem Jahr hatte Hawa Nuur Aden Ismail ihren einzigen Sohn in ein Tuch gehüllt. Das neugeborene Baby war damals fast so schwer wie jetzt der steife Körper. Mohammed ist verhungert. Mohammed ist nicht das einzige Baby, das an diesem Morgen im kenianischen Dadaab beerdigt wird.
Rund 1000 Menschen kommen jeden Tag nach tagelangen Märschen und Odysseen mit Lastwagen, Bussen und Eselskarren im größten Flüchtlingslager der Welt an. Sie fliehen vor der schlimmsten Dürre seit 60 Jahren und dem seit über 20 Jahren währenden Bürgerkrieg in Somalia.
"Ich habe Mohammed auf der Flucht tagelang auf dem Rücken getragen. Vielleicht hätten wir in Somalia bleiben sollen. Was hätte dort schlimmer sein können als hier", klagt Mohammeds Mutter Hawa. Als die Männer Mohammeds zerbrechliche Leiche zum Schutz vor den hungrigen Hyänen mit schweren Sandsäcken beschweren, wendet sie sich ab. "Er wird es schaffen", hatten die Ärzte gesagt, als sie Mohammed zwei Tage zuvor aus dem provisorischen Krankenhaus entließen. Hawa hatte daran geglaubt.
Hunger und Tod gehören wie Staub und Hitze zum Leben in Dadaab. In einer notdürftig aus Zweigen, Planen und Pappen errichteten Hütte hockt die bis auf die Knochen abgemagerte Fatuma Hassan Yarow. Aus großen Augen starrt die Zehnjährige ins Leere. Ihr linkes Bein zittert, die Fliegen, die sich an ihre Augen und in die Mundwinkel setzen, kann sie nicht mehr verscheuchen, zum Sprechen fehlt ihr die Kraft. "Gestern Abend ist ihr Bruder Samo gestorben. Er war erst ein Jahr alt. Wir haben ihn heute Morgen begraben. Ich habe in diesem Lager schon drei Kinder verloren. Erst sind die kleinen gestorben. Ich habe solche Angst, dass nun auch Fatuma, meine älteste Tochter stirbt", flüstert ihre Mutter Owliyoo.
Viele Kinder und Babys sterben auf der Flucht
Tausende Mütter fürchten in Dadaab um das Leben ihrer Kinder. In einem von der deutschen Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) betriebenen Notkrankenhaus flößt Nishu Ali ihrer einjährigen Tochter Umaso mit einer Spritze Spezialmilch ein. "Ich habe viele Kinder und Babys auf der Flucht sterben sehen. Ich habe Umaso aus Somalia bis Kenia getragen. Sie wird es schaffen", sagt die Nomadin. Aber die Zweifel in ihrer Stimme sind nicht zu überhören.
Wenn die somalischen Flüchtlinge in Dadaab ankommen, haben die meisten nichts außer der Kleidung, die sie am Körper tragen und der Hoffnung, irgendwann in ihre Heimat zurückzukehren. Für viele wird es immer nur eine Hoffnung bleiben. "Ich glaube nicht, dass Somalia sich in absehbarer Zeit stabilisiert. Das Lager war ursprünglich für 90.000 Menschen ausgelegt, spätestens im November werden hier eine halbe Million Menschen leben", sagt Guy Avognon, der das Lager des Flüchtlingswerk der Vereinten Nationen (UNHCR) leitet.
Auch in Teilen Äthiopiens, Kenias, Ugandas und in Dschibuti hat es teilweise seit mehreren Jahren nicht mehr geregnet. Doch dort hindert al-Schabab ausländische Helfer nicht daran, den Hungernden zu helfen. Aus der umkämpften Hauptstadt Mogadischu haben die Islamisten sich vor einigen Wochen zwar offiziell zurückgezogen, doch die Kämpfe gehen weiter - und dafür brauchen die Extremisten Krieger. "Die vermummten Männer kamen in unser Haus. Sie nahmen meinen Cousin mit. Nach sieben Tagen warfen sie ihn von der Ladefläche ihres Jeeps wieder auf unseren Hof. Er hatte sieben Kugeln im Kopf. Sie sagten, so würde es jedem ergehen, der sich nicht al-Schabab anschließt. Da bin ich weggerannt", erzählt der 18-jährige Abdir Risaq an einer Registrierungsstelle im Flüchtlingslager.
In Dadaab kann fast jeder eine Horrorgeschichte über die Extremisten erzählen. Zum Beispiel Suban Ibrahim Mohamed "Ich hatte 50 Kühe. Bis auf eine sind sie alle verdurstet. Und die letzte haben die Männer von al-Schabab mir gestohlen. Wer in Somalia eine Waffe hat, der kann sich nehmen, was er will. Sie sagen, sie seien Gotteskrieger. Aber was soll das für ein Gott sein?", sagt die 40-Jährige. "Der Islam verbietet es zu stehlen und zu töten. Aber al-Schabab lässt keine Hilfe ins Land. Das ist Mord." Mit ihren sieben Kinder wohnt die Nomadin in einem der 5000 Zelte, die mit Unterstützung der Hilfsorganisation Worldvision errichtet wurden. An seinen ausgefransten Rändern wuchert das Lager in die Steppe.
Tausende Helfer für traumatisierte Flüchtlinge
Nach 20 Jahren Krieg im Nachbarland ist Dadaab längst kein Lager mehr, sondern nach Nairobi und Mombasa die drittgrößte Stadt Kenias. Vergewaltigungen, Raubüberfälle, Morde und Entführungen sind in den Lagern keine Seltenheit. Al-Schabab-Männer versuchen, im riesigen Lager neue Soldaten zu rekrutieren, andere erholen sich von den Kämpfen im Bürgerkriegsland.
"An einem einzigen Tag sind 240 junge, alleinstehende Männer aus Somalia ins Lager gekommen. Die Vermutung liegt nahe, dass es sich um al-Schabab-Kämpfer handelt, die sich im Lager für ein paar Wochen erholen wollen", sagt ein Sicherheitsexperte, der nicht namentlich genannt werden möchte. Bislang hat al-Schabab keinen Anschlag auf die im Lager tätigen internationalen Helfer verübt, doch Uno-Mitarbeiter dürfen nur noch in Begleitung kenianischer Polizisten mit alten deutschen G3-Sturmgewehren auf die Gelände.
Tausende Helfer arbeiten im Lager und versuchen, den oft traumatisierten Flüchtlingen zumindest ein wenig Normalität zu bieten. In den vergangenen 20 Jahren bohrten sie in der Savanne 20 Brunnen, bauten 28 Schulen und vier Krankenhäuser. Jeden Monat verteilen sie rund 9000 Tonnen Lebensmittel, rufen Theater- und Frauengruppen ins Leben.
Und immer wieder gibt es Geschichten, die Hoffnung machen. Zum Beispiel die von Saxara Said. Mit rund 125 Kindern sitzt die Zehnjährige in einem Zelt im Staub und lernt die Zahlen von eins bis zehn auf Somali, Arabisch, Englisch und Suaheli. Es ist das erste Mal, dass Saxara zur Schule gehen kann. Vor drei Monaten floh sie mit ihren Eltern aus Somalia. Wegen der ständigen Kämpfe hatte die Schule dort schon vor Monaten geschlossen.
Der Schule fehlt es an Büchern, Stiften, Papier
"Ich will einmal Rechtsanwältin werden, um anderen Menschen zu helfen. Außerdem will ich meinen Eltern lesen und schreiben beibringen", erzählt Saxara stolz. Dann fängt sie plötzlich an zu weinen. Sind es die Erinnerungen an den Granatenangriff, bei dem kurz vor Saxaras Flucht drei ihrer Nachbarn ums Leben kamen?
"Viele der Kinder sind traumatisiert. Bücher, Stifte, Papier: Uns fehlt es an allem. Trotzdem versuchen wir spielerisch, die Angst der Kinder zu überwinden", erzählt Walter Kinyera. Der 23-jährige Flüchtling aus Uganda ist seit vier Wochen der Direktor der Schule. Mit 15 ehrenamtlichen Lehrern versucht er, 1303 Kinder zu unterrichten, so gut es geht.
Auch der kleine Mohammed, den sie heute Morgen in ein Tuch gehüllt in die staubige Erde gelegt haben, hätte in drei Jahren in diese Schule gehen sollen. Sein frisch aufgeschüttetes Grab ist keine 500 Meter von dem Schulhof entfernt, auf dem die Kinder jetzt in der Pause einem verbeulten Fußball hinterherjagen.
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<<223100>> 09.01.2009 08:58 09NAIROBI1829 Embassy Nairobi SECRET 08STATE81854 VZCZCXYZ0002 PP RUEHWEB
DE RUEHNR #1829/01 2440858 ZNY SSSSS ZZH P 010858Z SEP 09 FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0826 INFO RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 3308 RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY TAGS: CVIS, KCOR, KCRM, PGOV, PREL, ECON, KE SUBJECT: VISAS DONKEY: CORRUPTION 212(F) VISA DENIAL REF: A. 2008 STATE 81854
S e c r e t nairobi 001829
Dept for a/s carson, inl/c/cp, jane becker; nsc for senior director gavin
E.o. 12958: decl: 08/27/2019 Tags: cvis, kcor, kcrm, pgov, prel, econ, ke Subject: visas donkey: corruption 212(f) visa denial
Ref: a. 2008 state 81854 b. Td-314/081112-08 c. Td-314/081567-08 d. Td-314/083973-08
Classified By: Ambassador Michael Ranneberger, Reasons 1.4 b,d
1. (C) Embassy is seeking a security advisory opinion under Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), Proclamation 7750, precluding the entry into the United States of Henry Kiprono Kosgey and his family. Kosgey was born in Nandi district, Rift Valley Province, Kenya on July 14, 1947. There is strong evidence that Kosgey has consistently engaged in official corruption from at least 1987 to the present while holding a variety of ministerial and parastatal director positions, and that corruption has had serious adverse effects on both U.S. foreign assistance goals and on the stability of Kenya's democratic institutions. The following provides information requested in ref A, paragraphs 26-28.
2. (C) Like many members of Kenya's political elite, Kosgey has had a long career in politics and served in numerous ministerial positions under the kleptocratic administration of former President Daniel arap Moi. He has, however, also continued to enrich himself at the public's expense while serving as a member of Parliament (MP), as director of the parastatal and now bankrupt Kenya National Assurance Company and as Minister for Industrialization under the current coalition government.
3. (C) Kosgey was first elected as MP of Tinderet constituency in Rift Valley Province in 1979 under Moi's Kenya African National Union (KANU) party. (Note: At that time, Kenya was a single-party state.) He was re-elected as MP in 1983, 1988, 1992, 1997, 2002, and 2007, when he ran as a candidate under Prime Minister Raila Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party. After becoming an MP, Kosgey served under Moi as Minister for Transport and Communications (1980-1985), Minister for Cooperatives Development (1985-1986), and Minister for Culture and Social Services (1987-1988). Kosgey, like Moi, is an ethnic Kalenjin from Rift Valley province. Although he is a member of the Nandi sub-tribe and not Moi's Tugen sub-tribe, he was for many years a close and trusted associate of the former president. From 1989 to 1992, he served as Executive Chairman of the now-defunct parastatal Kenya National Assurance Company (KNAC). From 1993 to 1996, he served as an MP but did not hold a cabinet position. In 1996, he reentered the cabinet when he was appointed by Moi as Minister for Environment and Natural Resources (1996-1997). He subsequently served as Minister for Tourism (1998-1999), Minister for Science and Technology (1999-2001), and Minister of Education (2001-2002). During President Kibaki's first term (2003-2007), Kosgey reinvented himself as an ODM MP after Moi left power in 2002. Following the formation of the coalition government in February 2008, he was appointed by Prime Minister Odinga as head of the newly-created Ministry of Industrialization, a post he currently holds. He is also the current chairman of ODM.
Embezzling funds, looting parastatal assets
4. (C) Open source reporting alleges that, when serving as Minister of Culture and Social Services, Kosgey was part of the team that brought in American marketing consultant Dick Berg to assist Kenya in organizing and hosting the fourth All-Africa Games in 1987. Berg's task was to assist the GOK in raising funds to support the games; he is accused of fleeing the country with roughly $2.6 million before the games began. Kosgey is also alleged to have participated in the looting of the assets of the Games' organizing committee by misappropriating funds designated for costs associated with the Games for his personal use. Kosgey is also accused of looting the real estate assets of former parastatal Kenya National Assurance Company (KNAC) when he served as its director from 1989 to 1992. Under his management, KNAC is also alleged to have made illegal loans and paid out fradulent claims to politically connected individuals. By illegally appropriating KNAC's most valuable assets, Kosgey reduced the company to an undercapitalized shell that ultimately collapsed and failed to meet its financial obligations to pension and life insurance policy holders. At the time the KNAC went into receivership, it held more than $13 million in life insurance policies. As a result of the collapse of KNAC, 900 employees lost their jobs and thousands of Kenyans from all walks of life lost their pensions or did not receive insurance payments upon the deaths of beneficiaries. The former employees also allege that the company owes them an estimated $655,000 in pension benefits.
Accused of grabbing public lands
5. (C) When President Kibaki first took office in 2003, he ordered a number of commissions of inquiry aimed at examining and correcting some of the worst corruption excesses of the Moi era. Unfortunately, once the first blush of reformist zeal had passed, there was almost no accountability for those officials named in the commissions' reports or implementation of the commissions' corrective recommendations. The Ndung'u Commission was constituted in 2003 to investigate "irregular allocation" or illegal privatization of public land in urban areas, settlement schemes, forests, and reserves during the Moi era. Its report, released in December 2004, was more than 2,000 pages long with annexes and provided the most comprehensive analysis to date of shady land deals during the Moi years (1978-2002). The commission recommended the revocation of hundreds of land allocations, including many to past and current political figures. To date, none of these revocations have been implemented despite pledges by current Minister of Lands James Orengo to do so.
6. (C) Kosgey (along with fellow minister Sally Kosgei) is named in the Ndung'u report as the improper recipient of more than 300 hectares of the South Nandi forest in 1999. According to local anti-corruption NGO Mars Group Kenya, the illegal carving out of a total of 1,170 hectares of forest land was supposed to be part of a land swap in which Kosgey and two other politicians would exchange the forest land for farmland held by local farmers and the minority Ngerek community. When the exchange took place, many of the intended beneficiaries were excluded and rendered landless. In 1995, Kosgey was serving on the board of directors of Kakuzi Tea Company, which is still in existence and is publicly traded on the Nairobi and London stock exchanges. He is accused of colluding with other corrupt directors in stripping Kakuzi of some of its prime assets by illegally transferring 97 hectares of Siret Farm (a tea plantation) to the Tinderet Development Trust Company, a shell company co-owned by Kosgey and his son Allan. In the face of declining global tea prices and burdened by debt of more than $8.5 million, Kakuzi put the remainder of Siret Farm up for public sale in 2007.
Involvement in post-election violence and opposition to accountability
7. (S) In October 2008, Kosgey was named in the report of the Commission to Investigate Post-Election Violence (CIPEV), commonly known as the Waki Commission after its chairman, Justice Philip Waki. The report alleged that Kosgey participated in incitement, planning, and illegal financing of post-election violence in and around his rural constituency of Tinderet in the Nandi Hills district of Rift Valley province. Tinderet is a tea-growing area, and many tea pickers working on the plantations hail from western Kenya and are ethnic Luo or Luhya. Many workers and their families, who usually live in company-owned housing on the larger plantations, fled or were driven out of the area during the post-election violence by groups of youths who resented non-Kalenjins being employed in the local tea industry.
8. (C) When the report was released, Kosgey joined a number of his fellow ODM MPs in rejecting the Waki Commission's findings, despite Odinga's public statements that the Waki report's recommendations be fully implemented. Key recommendations included setting up a local special tribunal to try persons suspected of participating in post-election violence and/or sending the dossiers on these individuals to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for potential prosecution. In his capacity as ODM chairman and as an MP, Kosgey has repeatedly and publicly rejected both the local tribunal and ICC options, joining some of the other MPs named in the Waki report as instigators in calling instead for healing and reconciliation. In public remarks on October 14, 2008, Kosgey stated that "the people in that list were not given a chance to defend themselves. That is very unfair."
Questions on the maize scandal
9. (C) In early 2009, a national scandal erupted when a number of prominent politicians, including Minister of Agriculture William Ruto, were accused of speculating in government-subsidized maize designated to feed the hungry after the planting cycle was disrupted in many growing areas by the post-election violence. (Note: Kosgey's constituency was among those most affected, as it is located near the epicenter of inter-ethnic violence in Rift Valley province.) Twenty-one MPs and three ministers, including Kosgey, were summoned for questioning by investigators at the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) in February 2009. Local media reported that Kosgey was asked about letters he sent to the National Cereals and Produce Board requesting an allocation of subsidized maize.
Hiring and firing without transparency
10. (C) As Minister of Industrialization, Kosgey is responsible for overseeing the operation, management, and privatization of the Kenyan government's ten state corporations. He also oversees the implementation of the GOK's new "quality mark" requirement without which many goods cannot be sold in Kenya. Many private sector companies, including major U.S. companies like Eveready and Sara Lee, have protested this new requirement adds unreasonable costs to importing goods and discriminates against products manufactured outside Kenya. Major private sector advocacy groups, including the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), have also noted the great potential for corruption in implementation of the new quality mark requirement. In June 2009, KAM also accused Kosgey of illegally and unilaterally removing some of the private sector members of the board of the Kenya Bureau of Standards, the entity charged with implementing the quality mark program. xxxxxxxxxxxx have told us that they have credible information that Kosgey is benefitting illegally from the imposition of the quality mark requirements (i.e., by taking bribes from local producers in lieu of their actual compliance with the new quality standards) and that he is deeply involved in corruption.
11. (C) In July 2009, Kosgey was publicly accused by his Assistant Minister Nderiti Mureithi (a member of Kibaki's Party of National Unity) of improperly firing three heads of parastatals (the Industrial Development Bank, the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute, and the Kenya Industrial Estates) without following proper procedures and without consulting the boards of directors of those companies. In an interview with national TV outlet NTV, Mureithi called Kosgey "a throwback to the dark days of the Moi era" and alleged that the three directors were unilaterally fired by Kosgey without any consultation and replacements selected by him without a transparent or competitive recruitment process as required by Kenyan law. Odinga ultimately had to intervene in the dispute and ordered that the directors remain in office until the correct procedures could be instituted to remove them.
Negative impact on u.s. National interests
12. (S) Stability of Democratic Institutions and Impact on U.S. Businesses: Kosgey's involvement in inciting post-election violence in Rift Valley province directly contributed to the deaths and displacement of Kenyans and significantly undermined the stability and security of the region. Non-Kalenjin tea workers had to flee their jobs and the tea industry was hit hard by the disruption of production and interference with local transport routes. Displacements in the region also disrupted the planting and harvesting cycles and directly contributed to hunger and official involvement in speculation in the maize market. Kosgey's corrupt activities also have an adverse impact on U.S. national interests in promoting the reform agenda agreed upon in the Annan accord. Because he is an influential voice in the Kalenjin community, Kosgey's repeated public opposition to prosecution of perpetrators of violence, either locally or internationally, has contributed to undermining public confidence in the judiciary and will make it much more difficult to pursue accountability in these cases. His extensive illegally-acquired land holdings will motivate him to oppose meaningful land reform legislation when it comes up in parliament later this year. He is also likely to oppose reform-oriented land policy changes in a new constitution. His corrupt and unfair application of the quality mark program has had a direct discriminatory impact on importers and vendors of U.S. products in Kenya.
13. (C) U.S. Foreign Assistance Goals: Kosgey's diverse corruption activities over decades have negatively impacted U.S. foreign assistance goals in a number of ways. His continuing ownership of illegally transferred forestry lands, part of the greater Mau Forest which comprises Kenya's largest water catchment area, has contributed to ethnic conflict over land ownership in Rift Valley, and has also contributed to deforestation and resulting drought and hunger that currently plagues Kenya. Donors, including the United States, have had to provide billions of dollars in emergency food aid to Kenya over the last four years of chronic drought, even in areas of Rift Valley that were historically the most agriculturally productive regions of Kenya. His looting of public and private company assets undermine investor confidence, directly create job loss, and damage public confidence in the security of pension funds. Kosgey has repeatedly ignored government regulations for hiring and firing directors of parastatals and, through these actions, signals a profound disrespect for the rule of law which we are striving to promote.
Additional information required for finding
14. (C) Kosgey has not been informed that he may be ineligible for a U.S. visa under section 212(f) of the INA and Proclamation 7750.
15. (C) Kosgey last traveled to the U.S. in November 2006. He applied for and was issued U.S. visas in 1997, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 (all G2 visas). His most recent application was for a G2 visa to attend a parliamentary forum at the UN General Assembly in New York. He was issued a G2 multiple-entry, 3-month visa on November 2, 2006 in diplomatic passport D006890. He has not applied for a visa since 2006. As a sitting minister and member of parliament, he may intend to apply for a U.S. visa for either professional or personal travel. However, we do not have any clear indication that he intends to apply soon. He has two sons who have made forays into politics: Allan Kosgey, who is a co-director of the Tinderet Development Trust with his father, and youngest son Alex Kosgey, an aspiring MP.
16. (C) Since almost the beginning of his long political career, Kosgey has consistently availed himself of opportunities to enrich himself at the expense of the Kenyan taxpayer. His participation in official corruption led directly to the financial collapse of one parastatal, and he has also undermined stability and security in the Rift Valley by instigating and planning inter-ethnic violence before, during, and after the December 2007 elections. Post recommends that he be excluded for travel to the U.S. under section 212(f) of the INA and that no exception be granted. Ranneberger
<<225330>> 9/16/2009 9:24 09NAIROBI1938 Embassy Nairobi SECRET 08STATE81854|09NAIROBI1830|09NAIROBI1831|09NAIROBI1859 VZCZCXYZ0002 OO RUEHWEB
DE RUEHNR #1938/01 2590924 ZNY SSSSS ZZH O 160924Z SEP 09 FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0989 INFO RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 3327 RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY TAGS: CVIS, ECON, KCRM, KE, PGOV, PREL, KCOR SUBJECT: VISAS DONKEY: CORRUPTION 212(F) VISA DENIAL REF: A. 08 STATE 81854
S e c r e t nairobi 001938
Dept for af a/s carson, inl/c/cp jane becker, nsc for senior director gavin
E.o. 12958: decl: 09/09/2019 Tags: cvis, econ, kcrm, ke, pgov, prel, kcor Subject: visas donkey: corruption 212(f) visa denial
Ref: a. 08 state 81854 b. Td-314/014437-09 c. Nairobi 1830 d. Nairobi 1859 e. Nairobi 1831
Classified By: AMBASSADOR MICHAEL RANNEBERGER. FOR REASONS 1.5(B) AND ( d).
1. (C) Embassy is seeking a security advisory opinion under Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, Proclamation 7750, suspending the entry into the United States of Aaron Gitonga Ringera and members of his family. Ringera was born in Meru, Kenya on June 20, 1950. Post strongly believes Mr. Ringera has engaged in and benefited from public corruption in his capacity as Director/Chief Executive of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) for the last five years by interference with judicial and other public processes, and that this corruption has had a serious adverse impact on U.S. national interest in the stability of democratic institutions in Kenya, U.S. foreign assistance goals and the international economic activities of U.S. businesses. Ringera travels frequently to the U.S. He is expected shortly to apply for a U.S. visa. The following provides information requested in ref a, paragraphs 26-28.
2. (C) Justice (retired) Aaron Ringera has been Director/Chief Executive of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission since its inception in 2004. During this period, despite a string of major corruption scandals that have come to light before and after his appointment, he has not only failed to successfully investigate a single senior government official, he has actively thwarted their successful investigation and prosecution by teaming with Attorney General Amos Wako (ref b). Ringera is part of a system that has evolved over time involving the Attorney General and the judiciary that works together to avoid or suppress investigations/prosecutions of top GOK officials. Ringera provides cases via investigation to the Attorney General's office and insists that they're strong cases. The Attorney General fails to prosecute, arguing that the cases are poorly investigated and sends them back to Ringera. If any cases of significance leak through and go to court, the judiciary can be counted on to quash those that are the most sensitive at the direction of senior government officials. Ringera's key role was recently confirmed by the irregular manner in which he was reappointed on August 31 by President Kibaki to a second five-year term. The "process" involved in Kibaki's decision-making demonstrates that key players in the GOK hierarchy wanted to retain Ringera to avoid having to deal with a new and potentially effective KACC Director (ref d). Leading anti-corruption NGOs have repeatedly noted that "no politically significant corruption case has been successfully investigated by the KACC" under Ringera.
3. (S) Justice Ringera's corrupt practices have come out in a number of ways, most prominently in a recent book, "It's Our Turn to Eat," an account of the resignation of former Kenya anti-corruption czar John Githongo. Ringera's involvement with death threats, which Githongo asserts repeatedly in the book, is corroborated by ref b (described in para 7 below). Leading anti-corruption NGOs have followed Ringera's work for years and firmly believe that his gross negligence is intentional, making him a ready accomplice. Ringera's own submission to President Kibaki in 2006 regarding the Anglo-Leasing scandal concluded that a number of senior officials should have been prosecuted. To date, none of them have. Finally, the 2006 Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee report on Anglo-Leasing makes a number of recommendations to the KACC, none of which have been carried out. The clear pattern of Justice Ringera's material negligence and his involvement in attempts to violently suppress information on corruption constitutes corruption in and of itself.
It's Our Turn to Eat
4. (C) "It's Our Turn to Eat" chronicles former Kenya anti-corruption czar John Githongo's rise and fall from power in Kenya in the early days of the post-Moi administration under then new President Mwai Kibaki. The book, by Financial Times reporter Michela Wrong, outlines in particular Githongo's investigation of the Anglo-Leasing scandal. Anglo-Leasing was one of a series of phantom entities used to perpetrate fraud on the Kenyan taxpayer through non-delivery of goods and services alongside significant overpricing. The beneficiaries include the most senior levels of the GOK. However, due in part to Ringera's complicity, not a single senior government official has been successfully prosecuted for the theft of hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars from Kenya. Justice Ringera has played his part in not pressing hard on this case and attempting to discourage Githongo from releasing information and investigating Anglo-Leasing further. The book is drawn primarily from interviews with John Githongo and Githongo's writings from his time as anti-corruption advisor to President Kibaki. Githongo's interactions with Ringera paint the picture of a man (Ringera) who is part of the system within the GOK that protects its own from prosecution regardless of the crime committed and will, if necessary, kill to enforce the system. On November 4, 2005, Githongo admitted to Ringera his realization that the GOK leadership (among them President Kibaki) really only wanted him there as window dressing to "go through the motions" in fighting corruption. Ringera agreed and said, "So you stay there, you are a little wiser and you know that you are there. You can't, in fact, afford to make any move. That's when you will really be killed." Ringera added, "If you wanted to resign and go today, that's when they would kill you." In February 2006, Githongo was speaking with Ringera in London one last time before Githongo resigned and went into exile. According to Githongo, Ringera told him that Kenyan intelligence "would put something in your tea" if Githongo went public with what he knew.
5. (C) Githongo's belief that Ringera was part of the corruption problem was largely based on the latter's unwillingness to be responsive to the dossier of information on Anglo-Leasing that Githongo had put together. Two instances led Githongo to this conclusion. At the end of 2005 when President Kibaki failed to respond to the dossier, he sent a copy to Ringera. Githongo said, "I'd told him, "I'm ready to come and share incontrovertible proof with you, just ask me." There was no response from Ringera. At the same time, it was clear that Ringera was not independent of President Kibaki. According to the book's author, "The day we met he (Ringera) boasted that he had never taken a telephone call from the presidency during his time in office. But a former colleague says he never needed to, going round in person to State House to receive instructions. He would call staff together and say: the message from the president is A, B, C, and D." Ref d's tale of Ringera's sudden and back-door reappointment by President Kibaki on August 31, 2009 confirms that Ringera is part of the cabal keeping a lid on justice, ensuring senior GOK officials are never held accountable for their corrupt acts.
6. (C) More evidence of Ringera's involvement in protecting the corrupt elite came when Githongo testified to the KACC on Anglo-Leasing in March 2006 in London at the Kenyan High Commission. According to the book, "Understandably wary, John had insisted his evidence be taped. Yet at the end of two days of testimony - long enough, one would have thought, for any malfunction to be detected and rectified -- Ringera informed John the recording equipment had failed and his words were, sadly, inaudible. There would be no audio transcript, only a KACC-drafted summary. After delivering that bombshell, Ringera waxed astonishingly candid about the charade being staged for public consumption. There would be no Anglo Leasing prosecutions until after the 2007 elections, if ever, he said. When John's lawyer asked when his client could return to Kenya to give evidence, Ringera said: "no, no, I wouldn't advise that." According to the book, "a former lead KACC investigator who had accompanied Ringera to London went public to confirm the details of the conversation. I was amazed at what Ringera said. There was no indication whatsoever the equipment wasn't working. You don't go for days without once going through what you have recorded." Once again, the head of Kenya's anti-corruption body was doing his best to halt an investigation.
7. (S) Paragraph 5 provides details of statements made by Ringera to Githongo that Githongo took as direct threats to his life by the Kenyan political elite, to include Ringera. This TD corroborates Githongo's conclusion about Ringera who is identified in a room with leading Kikuyu politicians, including Ministers of government, plotting to kill Githongo in 2009. The conclusion one can draw from this report, combined with Githongo's testimony, is that Ringera is part of those within the Kenyan political elite seeking to suppress information and those with information that could assist in punishing and minimizing corruption in Kenya.
Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee Report on Anglo-Leasing
8. (C) In March 2006, the Kenyan National Assembly's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) released its report on Anglo-Leasing. In its general recommendations, the PAC said the KACC Director "should liaise with the Attorney General, the Police Commissioner, and other relevant bodies with a view to prosecuting persons who were involved in negotiations and approval of the procurement of Passport Issuing Equipment" (one of the fraudulent Anglo-Leasing contracts). To date, after more than three years, the KACC, under Ringera's direction, has not carried out this action. The report further recommends that the "KACC should hasten its investigations and make its report public as soon as possible." In fact, KACC has done the opposite. Investigations have ceased and there is no public report. Per ref e, both the PAC report and Githongo have made clear the complicity of then Justice Minister Murungi in covering up Anglo-Leasing. Despite the evidence, Ringera has never followed through on the investigations into Murungi's role in the mega-scandal.
KACC Status Report to President Kibaki on Anglo-Leasing
9. (C) In June 2006, the KACC under Justice Ringera provided a brief report to President Kibaki regarding Anglo-Leasing entitled, "Status of the Investigation of Security Related Contracts." In that document, the KACC indicates that there is "a probability of prosecution" for four senior government officials, including former Vice President Moody Awori, former Minister of Finance David Mwiraria, former Minister for Internal Security Chris Murungaru, and current Attorney General Amos Wako. Not one of them has been successfully investigated and prosecuted on the Anglo-Leasing case. Two groups of businessmen are also specifically linked to fraudulent Anglo-Leasing contracts -- those linked to the Kamani family and those linked to Anura Perera. Neither of those principals or their families have been successfully investigated and prosecuted. Again, as is demonstrated also in paragraph 8, there is a pattern of behavior by Justice Ringera that makes it clear that he is part of the shell game, rather than trying to fight it. KACC reports indicate that investigations are underway and prosecutions are "probable" and that there is evidence of corrupt acts yet the record, particularly for those at the top of government and business, are unsuccessfully investigated or prosecuted or there is no action over a number of years. This is particularly damning when the KACC is not following up on its own recommendations. As one NGO has noted (see below), it is currently rare for KACC reports to even mention Anglo-Leasing, one of the largest scams in recent Kenyan history, let alone investigate the case.
NGO Views of Ringera
10. (SBU) Ref d reports Ringera's reappointment by President Kibaki to a second five-year term as KACC Director. Key NGO reactions, aside from expressing opposition to the process of Ringera's reappointment, called into question his performance and how it warranted reappointment. xxxxxxxxxxxx said the following:
"Public service legitimacy depends on the faithfulness of public service to the aspirations of the citizens. The track record of KACC is testimony of betrayal of this principle. No politically significant corruption case has been successfully investigated by KACC. While the reasons for this dismal performance lies with the President, cabinet, judiciary, Attorney General's office and parliament, the buck stops with the head of the anti-corruption oversight institution. He should have recognized the structural and policy weaknesses that were going to lead to this failure and resigned. Or fought for fundamental reforms in a way that was both visible and credible. In democratic states, oversight institutions required application of "arms-length" principles in their leadership, functioning and resourcing. For a president to appoint the head of an institution that would take him/her to jail if s/he was corrupt is a travesty of democratic governance principles. KACC is the one institution, if any, whose head and staff should owe no loyalty to the executive they should be investigating."
11. (SBU) Mars Group Kenya, another anti-corruption NGO, reacted to Ringera's reappointment as follows: "Apart from the possible illegality of his new tenure, Kenyans will no doubt wonder why Justice Ringera merits reappointment in view of the abject failure of the KACC under his leadership to make a meaningful contribution towards ending grand corruption impunity in Kenya."
12. (C) There are two key points in these paragraphs. First, the KACC is the body that must lead on corruption. Ringera, who frequently attempts to shift the blame to the Attorney General (and, per ref c, he is certainly blameworthy), is, in fact, not taking up fully the duties that are allocated to him under Kenyan law. His successes have been of the "small fish" variety. While decrying the KACC's insignificant results (which his own staff has reported to us), Ringera does not act to resolve them or to protest by taking bold steps to expose those involved in holding up action against corruption or to resign given the ineffectual nature of his organization. The second point, regarding the reappointment makes it clear that Ringera is entirely beholden to President Kibaki and those around the President, many of whom are linked to various forms of public corruption over a long period of time. That lack of independence and clear connection to the political/corrupt elite inextricably links Ringera to the corruption that is dragging Kenya away from the fundamental reforms necessary to assure democratic stability and economic prosperity.
13. (C) In March 2007, Mars Group issued a review of the KACC's activities from 2005-2007. In the report, Mars focused in part on KACC's efforts on the largest corruption cases, such as Anglo-Leasing. Its conclusion, among others, is that "prominent personalities are more likely to benefit from a recommendation to the KACC to close their files than less prominent public officers." They noted that two key players linked directly to Anglo-Leasing and its cover up, former Finance Minister Mwariria and current Minister of Energy (ref e) Kiraitu Murungi, were such ministerial beneficiaries of apparent KACC largesse.
Serious Effect on U.S. National Interests
14. (C) KACC Director Justice Aaron Ringera's five years of involvement in public corruption through interference with judicial and other public processes have had serious adverse effects on those U.S. interests specified in Proclamation 7750 as well as U.S. foreign policy priorities of promoting democracy and good governance and sustainable economic development. Overarching all U.S. interests in Kenya is the need for the GOK to implement the reform agenda agreed to by all major political parties in the aftermath of the 2008 post-election violence. This agenda -- which focuses on accountability for the violence and preventing corruption through constitutional revision, electoral, judicial, police and land reform, is essential to democratic success, economic prosperity, stability and security in Kenya. As made clear by Secretary Clinton during her August 2009 visit to Kenya, pressing for implementation of the reform agenda and dismantling Kenya's culture of impunity is at the core of U.S. policy. Without significant progress on the reform agenda, including significant curbs on corruption, Kenya will almost certainly repeat (or surpass) the election-related violence ahead of/during/after 2012 elections. By obstructing due process and committing corrupt acts, Ringera has demonstrated that he is an obstacle to reform in Kenya and a major contributor to the country's culture of impunity. As a result, he stands against vital U.S. interests in Kenya.
15. (C) Stability of Democratic Institutions and Nations: Justice Ringera's active participation in a system that protects senior officials from punishment for corrupt acts obstructs the fundamental reforms required for Kenya to ensure democratic stability. Not moving forward on scandals like Anglo-Leasing or Goldenberg (ref c) means that many of those suspected of stealing massively from the country's treasury have remained not only unpunished but on the job as Ministers of Government to this day. His protection has ensured that they continue to be in a position to steal funds to support election campaigns, and incite/support violence. For example, per ref e, after leaving the Ministry of Justice, Kiraitu Murungi went on to be Energy Minister where he once again has benefited from public corruption. In addition, per ref b and the credible reporting of John Githongo, there is strong evidence that Justice Ringera is involved in planning violence to suppress those who would expose corruption and seek to act to halt it. That kind of planning with involvement of elements of the Kenyan state is a direct assault on democracy and institutions in this country. At the same time, it is clear to all Kenyans that participating in public corruption, especially if you are among the political elite, does in fact pay. There is little, if any threat of punishment. In a September 2009 letter to Ambassador Ranneberger describing his achievements, Ringera argues that he has recommended prosecutions of Ministers, MP's and others on corruption charges. Yet none of them have been prosecuted. In the case of Anglo-Leasing, he asserts that he is held up by various court cases that have impeded prosecution. He and the Attorney General act in concert to decry these circumstances, some of which have been in place for years, but they do not act separately or in concert to seek changes to law or to key rulings to ensure that the cases move forward. After five years of working together, their collaboration rather appears to be an elaborate system of maintaining the appearance of activity while achieving the reality of inactivity. The corrosive nature of this culture of impunity has: directly undermined the ability of the Kenyan economy to grow at levels required to move the population to middle income status; built a permanent level of disregard for the rule of law and the institutions that are meant to enforce those laws; and reinforced a system whereby the government does not serve its population but further marginalizes it while enriching those in power. The bottom line is that the Kenyan state is weaker and less able to enhance the lives of its population and maintain the security of the country's already porous and dangerous border areas.
16. (C) U.S. Foreign Assistance Goals: According to Transparency International, the Goldenberg scandal alone directly cost the Kenyan taxpayer an estimated $500 million. Anglo-Leasing as well damaged the Kenya government and people to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars more. Under a KACC Director committed to protecting the Kenyan people, those most directly involved and benefiting from this scandal would have been aggressively investigated and prosecuted. That has not been the case. With economic prosperity and poverty alleviation at the heart of our foreign assistance goals, the ongoing damage done by: (a) not returning the funds stolen from the Kenyan people, and (b) encouraging continued public corruption by maintaining the culture of impunity limits our ability to provide assistance to the government, denies hundreds of millions of dollars to the public that could otherwise be utilized to assist in developing the country, and slows dramatically the construction of the infrastructure required to create the environment in which domestic and foreign investors could thrive.
17. (C) International Activity of U.S. Businesses: In his five years in office, Justice Ringera has helped to maintain the institutionalization of the culture of impunity that is rife in Kenya. Under Ringera's leadership, the KACC has actively participated in a system that works to discourage investigation, minimize the likelihood of prosecution, and throw out court cases that appear to have a chance of taking down senior GOK officials charged with corruption. Like the Attorney General, Justice Ringera can claim a perfect record of not investigating and convicting a single, senior GOK official. This is a remarkable tally in a country that is consistently ranked among the most corrupt in the world. That level of impunity only encourages greater and greater corruption throughout Kenya at all levels. The resulting corruption has a direct impact on U.S. business attempting to operate in Kenya from the police roadblocks set up along major transport routes, to moving goods to/from the Port of Mombasa, to fighting counterfeit products that are undermining American manufacturers based here, to simply being able to operate on a day-to-day basis with bribe- seeking local and regional officials. The KACC Director's corruption - protecting the most corrupt from accountability -- ensures that U.S. businesses struggle in Kenya.
18. (S) Justice Aaron Ringera, is at the heart of Kenya's debilitating corruption problem. While it was anticipated that he would be part of the solution when he took office, he has, instead, become an important element in a system of protection for political elites. Post strongly believes that Mr. Ringera has engaged in and benefited from public corruption in his capacity as KACC Director for the past five years by interference in public and judicial processes. The record demonstrates that:
-- the KACC Director is part of the group protecting itself from prosecution for the Anglo-Leasing scandal; -- he participated in at least one meeting in which the attempted assassination of John Githongo was planned this year; -- he was aware of threats to Kenyan anti-corruption official John Githongo and shared them with Githongo as an apparent intermediary; -- Ringera has not successfully investigated for prosecution a single case involving a senior GOK official in five years in a country that is consistently rated as among the most corrupt in the world; -- Ringera has not acted on recommendations from Parliament or followed through on his own recommendations for prosecution to the President of Kenya; -- Ringera has stopped pursuing Anglo-Leasing cases, one of Kenya's largest scandals for which no senior level investigations/prosecutions have been concluded; -- The backdoor manner in which Ringera was reappointed makes clear the premium value placed on him heading the KACC among the political elite.
Additional Information Required for Finding
19. (C) Mr. Aaron Gitonga Ringera has not been informed of the fact that he may be ineligible for a U.S. visa under section 212(f) of the INA and Proclamation 7750.
20. (C) Mr. Ringera's last visa issuance was a G2 that expired on July 15, 2007. Mr. Ringera has travelled frequently to the United States. He is expected shortly to apply for a U.S. visa.
21. (C) Ringera has traveled to the United States five times since 1997, including three times in 2007. He has been issued J1, G2, and A1 visas. He currently carries a Kenyan diplomatic passport D009090 that expires January 19, 2010. Ringera xxxxxxxxxxxx. We have not established whether or not Ringera has children and, if so, who they are.
22. (C) Because of the serious effect of Mr. Aaron Ringera's corruption, Post recommends that Mr. Ringera be excluded for travel to the U.S. under section 212(f) of the INA and that no exception be granted.
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