Kenya may lose Sh1bn in US aid to military
PHOTO / JARED NYATAYA / FILE Kenya Military Defence Force soldiers aboard a Hummer Vehicle patrol Ras Kiamboni area inside Somalia during the 'Operation Linda Nchi'.
By FRED MUKINDA
Posted Tuesday, June 5 2012 at 22:30
Kenyan security agencies risk losing massive foreign support after a committee of the US Congress proposed to withhold funds citing human rights violations. The Senate Judiciary Committee says the Kenya Defence Forces and the police are alleged to have violated human rights since 2008 and as late as January this year.
This year’s financial estimates show the US gave Kenya $14.1 million (Sh1.26 billion) for defence purposes, an increase from the preceding year.
The alleged violations cover part of Operation Linda Nchi, the military offensive launched against Al-shabaab and Operation Okoa Maishaagainst the Sabaot Land Defence Forces in Mt Elgon in March 2008.
In the current financial year’s defence allocation to Kenya, the US budgeted that $2.2 million (Sh198 million) was to finance KDF’s operations with additional $1 million (Sh90 million) being used to train local troops. Another $8.9 million (Sh801 million) was to be shared out between “anti-terrorism, non-proliferation and demining programs.”
A report by the committee set to be tabled for debate in the US Senate reads in part: “The Committee directs the Secretary of State to take steps to ensure that no US training, equipment, or other assistance is provided to any Kenyan military or police personnel who have been credibly alleged to have violated human rights.”
But the government can ensure the crucial funds are not withheld if it shows that thorough investigations have been conducted to identify those responsible. US-based Human Rights Watch last month produced a report, which referred to rights violations.
The report said of the security agencies: “Kenyan police and army subjected hundreds of Kenyan citizens in North Eastern Province, as well as over 100 Somali refugees, to beatings and other abuses.”