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President Obama to remove US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger: Kenya MPs put US ambassador on notice

Posted by African Press International on May 22, 2009

It is now clear that Ambassador Rannerberger who has been playing small king in Kenya will be released from his job in Kenya. It is not immediately know whether he will get any new posting by the Democrats. His behaviour has angered Kenyan MPs and some ministers. The ambassador travels around in the country inciting the youth against the government because there are some people that he would like to see take over power.

Kenya MPs have now told him off and asked him to shut up!

By Standard Team

US ambassador Michael Ranneberger is on a collision course with Members of Parliament over his grassroots campaigns to turn up the pressure for reforms.

His enthusiastic push for reforms involving the youth and ignoring MPs has earned him the legislators wrath, many of who accuse him of overstepping his diplomatic mandate.

“Ranneberger is behaving like a governor. He has no respect for elected leaders. Let him not think he has the powers to bring political order in this country,” said Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo.

The bone of contention is that Ranneberger has been mobilising youth groups across the country and bypassing MPs to pressurise Government on constitutional reforms. The standoff has rekindled memories of other power tussles between former US ambassador Smith Hempstone, whose ardent support for multi-party politics in 1992 earned him the nickname rogue ambassador.

But Hempstone, who has since died, was also chastised by top officials of the then ruling party Kanu for behaving like a colonial governor, a description that was used this week in reference to Ranneberger.

MPs who spoke to The Standard yesterday expressed their displeasure at the manner in which Ranneberger is handling the reform agenda.

But this has not deterred him from embarking on countrywide tours to address youth groups, and marshal them to support reform.

“I am supporting youth to exert pressure on politicians to start initiating reforms. Politicians fear pressure from the electorate and I think this initiative will work,” Ranneberger said at a function in Kisumu this week.

He said he had held meetings with Nyanza Youth Forum, Kikuyu for Change and Rift Valley Dialogue youth lobbies with a view to mobilising youths to a common cause.

“The groups are networking to ensure the momentum for change grows. The leaders must heed,” he added.

Ranneberger said a group of MPs opposed to the move had approached him and requested him to cease the campaign, saying it was hurting their political careers.

“Some MPs who I dont want to name have approached me, asking me to drop the initiative because it made them uncomfortable politically,” he added.

But the MPs came out fighting accusing Ranneberger of trying to undermine them in the pretext of championing for reforms.

ODM Chief Whip Jakoyo Midiwo and Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo accused the envoy of launching a campaign to “incite” voters against MPs. Midiwo said he would mobilise his colleagues against the US envoy.

“Ranneberger is overstepping his mandate. He is interfering in Kenyan politics. We will take him to the courts of public opinion and fire him,” said the Gem MP.

But Ranneberger said his campaign for change was not aimed at undermining any MP.


“MPs complaining over the move were anti-reforms and must change or face the wrath of Kenyans,” he said. Ranneberger warned that failure to put in place comprehensive reforms may plunge the country in chaos. However, MPs Fred Outa (Nyando) and Yussuf Chanzu (Vihiga) warned that the move could boomerang.

“Using youths for pro-reforms pressure might cause civil strife. US should instead place sanctions on the Government,” Chanzu said.

And Molo MP Joseph Kiuna said foreigners, despite their good relationship with the country, should not interfere with the countrys internal affairs. “The US should not impose its will on Kenyans. If he is genuine then he should not disrespect those elected by Kenyans to represent them in Parliament,” he said.


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