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Kenyan leader protests US over letters
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Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki on Saturday wrote a protest letter to U.S. President Barack Obama expressing displeasure and concerns about letters written to 15 prominent Kenyans.

In a statement issued in Nairobi, Kibaki said letters written to some ministers, lawmakers and permanent secretaries was out of step with the international protocol in the conduct of relations between friendly nations.

"His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki has written to President Barack Obama of the United States expressing displeasure and concern about letters written by a U.S. Government official to some Ministers, some Members of Parliament and some civil servants in their personal capacity on matters of Kenya's public policy," read the statement.

Kibaki's move comes just a day after Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said Washington had the right to take action on individuals it deems to be blocking reforms.

Odinga who was delivering a speech at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government in the United States said Washington could take action "if they are convinced the people they are banning from coming to the United States are engaged in forms of impunity".

He said he was at the forefront of championing reforms and was opposed to all forms of impunity.

"I have been a victim of impunity in the past," Odinga said, noting that he had been detained three times for a total of nine years. Odinga is the government's representative to the 64th United Nations General Assembly in New York.

U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger announced on Thursday that they have dispatched threatening letters to the Kenyan officials with possible visa bans.

The U.S. government has been vocal on issues that touch on Kenyan public including corruption, post-election violence and lately the reform agenda.

"Letters signed by Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnnie Carson have been sent to 15 persons making clear that the future relationship of those persons with the United States is tied to their support for implementation of the reform agenda and opposition to the use of violence," Ranneberger said.

This is the first time that President Kibaki has taken action on communications or threats issued by foreign ambassadors to the country.

"The action by the U.S. government official is considered out of step with international protocols in the conduct of relations between friendly nations," Kibaki said in the statement.

The U.S. letter also reiterated the reforms that were expected of the Kenyan government, among others "decisive, bold anti- corruption steps; reforms to ensure the rule of law, including police reform, judicial reform ... accountability for perpetrators of post-election violence, land reform".

Ranneberger said the steps taken by his country reflected the view at the highest levels of the U.S. government that implementation of the comprehensive reform agenda agreed to as the foundation of the coalition government must proceed with a much greater sense of urgency, because doing so was crucial to the future democratic stability of Kenya.

Both Kibaki and Odinga who signed a power-sharing deal to end the bloody post-election crisis, have publicly expressed their commitment to introducing necessary reforms in the country.

They reached a power-sharing deal last year to end post- election violence, which had left some 1,200 people dead and forced 350,000 from their homes.

(Xinhua News Agency September 27, 2009)

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