African Press International (API)

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Posted by African Press International on October 25, 2007

jaduong-leo.jpg<By Leo Odera Omolo, API/APN correspondent,

Kisumu – Kenya

A cabinet Minister in Kenya was on Monday this week involved in unusual diplomatic verbal exchange with a foreign diplomat in a public forum.

Labour Minister Dr. Newton Kulundu exchanged harsh words with American Ambassador to Kenya Mr. Michael Ranneberger at a public forum in the Kenyan Capital, Nairobi.

The exchange was triggered by Minister Kulundu in what was termed as diplomatic spat which saw the US envoy snub the Minister twice and eventually left the forum venue in huff.

Kulundu had launched scathing attack on the US and the UK governments for hypocrisy when dealing with African countries. And for applying double standards policy towards African government

I dare take the bull by its horns and declare that the greatest violators of human rights democracy and transparency are not in Africa but are the US, UK and other European countries, Kulundu said boldly in the presence of the US envoy.

Minister Kulundu spoke during the launching of a report entitled Trafficking in Persons from a Labour Perspective, the Kenyan experience.

Apparently provoked by the Ministers utterances Ambassador Rennerberger openly displayed his displeasure when he refused to shake Kulundus hands after the address.

Participants watched in disbelief the unfolding drama and were obviously dismayed!!.

And when it was his turn to address the forum, Rennerberger simply dismissed the Ministers harsh remarks against his country as ludicrous. At the end of his speech the US envoy again snubbed Kulundu and hurriedly left the conference hall.

Earlier on, Kulundu had told off Western countries accusing them of random for preaching water while drinking wine over their poor human rights record and disrespect to sovereignty of other countries.

According to the report, thousands of victims of human trafficking are in the dark about the illegal trade and become easy pray for traffickers.

It says in part, Lack of awareness among vulnerable group such as poor women and children desperate to escape their deplorable lifestyles fuelled the illicit trade.

The report describe it as modern day slavery. The vice, adds the report, is rampant in the Kenyas coastal region especially in Mtwapa where between 10,000 and 20,000 children are trafficked to engage in sex tourism.

Participants at the launch of the report heard that globally the illegal trade generate more than USD 9.5 billion annually for internationally organized crime, second only to smuggling of arms.

The Ambassador later told newsmen the incident was just simple nonsense that doesnt qualify intervention to that level he played it down saying there was nothing to warrant a proper note.


Published by API/APN tel +4793299739 or +4763002525

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