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Kibaki to Snub UK Minister Over ‘ICC Plot’

Posted by Administrator on March 26, 2012

President Mwai Kibaki will likely not meet visiting UK Minister for Africa Henry Bellingham following the furore over documents presented in Parliament three weeks ago. By yesterday there was still no confirmation from State House of any meeting scheduled between Kibaki and Bellingham. “(I have) not been informed of any but will let you know if one is scheduled,” Isaiah Kabira, the head of the Presidential Press Service, said yesterday when asked about any appointment with Bellingham.

Foreign Affairs assistant minister Richard Onyonka said he was not aware of a scheduled meeting between the President and the visiting UK minister. “We have no confirmation whether the UK minister will be meeting the President and on what subject if any,” the assistant minister said. Details of the minister’s schedule remain fuzzy with the British High Commission in Nairobi declining to discuss them. “We are not permitted to discuss the details or his itinerary due to security reasons,” the High Commission’s spokesman John Bradshaw said. Bellingham is set to meet with business leaders in Mombasa, which will be his first stop.

Yesterday an email was circulating, said to be from the British High Commission, which invited Kenya Private Sector Alliance CEO Carole Kariuki for a lunch meeting with Bellingham on board the HMS Westminster at the Coast. We, however, could not ascertain whether the email originated from the British High Commission.

The email allegedly written by the PA/British High Commissioner Peter Tibber, Miss Emma Rowney, on March 21 states: “The theme of the lunch is to discuss how to improve the port efficiency and opportunities for UK companies. We are not aware yet which berth HMS Westminster will be at but on arrival at the Port entrance you will be directed towards the ship (as long as you have your invitation and photo ID)”.

Nearly three weeks ago, documents were tabled in Parliament alleging the UK was planning to have President Kibaki indicted by the International Criminal Court at the Hague and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto arrested in April. The documents have caused diplomatic concerns. They were tabled on March 8 by Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo, who has maintained that they are authentic. A day later, a source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter – told the Star that the NSIS knew of the existence of the letters and had confirmed that they were fake.

A parliamentary committee is investigating the origin and the authenticity of the same. The UK government has said the documents were forged, and a smear campaign aimed to destabilise the bilateral relations with Kenya and to damage the political atmosphere ahead of Kenya’s elections. At the same time, Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetang’ula told the Parliamentary Defence and Foreign Relations Committee that the “National Security Intelligence Service urges caution” over the authenticity of the alleged diplomatic documents.

In an op-ed appearing in The Star last week, Bellingham said his visit had nothing to do with the alleged documents. “I know there has been much speculation about the purpose of my visit. As I have made clear above, it is because of the many shared interests between the UK and Kenya, and other regional interests,” Bellingham wrote on Saturday.

He said the visit was another in a regular succession of ministerial and other senior visits to Kenya over the last few years that had been planned for several weeks and was not in response to the alleged documents presented in Parliament. One such high profile meeting involved President Kibaki with UK Prime Minister David Cameron on the sidelines of the London Conference on Somalia on February 23.

“For the record, the documents are not genuine and I have no intention of giving them any credence by commenting further. I am concerned that, among other preposterous allegations, His Excellency the President and the Right Honourable Prime Minister were dragged into this as part of an attempt to cause division and instability, just when Kenya needs a stable and peaceful environment to conduct fair elections and implement the Constitution. The heightened tensions from the political rhetoric on all sides are of concern, and we support those who are calling for restraint,” the UK minister said.

Source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201203261827.html

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