Kenya lashes out at US over demonstrations

Thursday February 13 2014

A policeman kicks a foam sculpture of a baby left by a protestor after demonstrators were dispersed by tear gas during a protest in Nairobi on February 13, 2014 PHOTO | CARL DE SOUZA

A policeman kicks a foam sculpture of a baby left by a protestor after demonstrators were dispersed by tear gas during a protest in Nairobi on February 13, 2014 PHOTO | CARL DE SOUZA AFP

AFP
By AFP
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NAIROBI

Kenya on Thursday accused a US development agency of trying to "destabilise" the country by financing anti-government demonstrations.

The chairman of National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC), Francis Kimemia, accused the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) of financing "clandestinely planned" demonstrations held to "pour vitriol" on the nation's parliament.

"The consistent plans to destabilise the current government will not be tolerated... especially where activists are bribed to tarnish the country's and leaders' reputation regionally and internationally," he said in a statement.

"It is a matter of national interest that USAID responds to these reports," he added, recalling that there were "international protocols that regulate tolerance or expulsion of agencies that undermine the sovereignty of a legitimate and democratic government."

'CONSISTENTLY FUNDED DEMONSTRATIONS'

The Kenyan government, he said, had "credible intelligent documents and information detailing how the US donor agency has consistently funded demonstrations by activists."

The furious statement came hours after civil society activists demonstrated in Nairobi to protest against alleged government corruption, lack of safety in public places, high unemployment and poverty.

The demonstration, attended by several hundred protestors, was broken up by police using teargas and its organiser arrested. (READ: Police lob teargas at Uhuru Park demonstrators)

In a statement, the US embassy in Nairobi denied the allegations, insisting Washington was "a strong and committed partner of the Government of Kenya and has been so for 50 years."

"Allegations... that the Government of the United States seeks to 'undermine' or 'destabilise' the Government of Kenya are false," it said.

Relations between Kenya and Somalia have been tense since the election last year of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice-President William Ruto, who are facing charges from the International Criminal Court of crimes against humanity related to election violence in 2007-2008.