Wednesday July 21, 2010
Congressmen Demand Answers about U.S. Involvement in Pro-Abort Kenyan Constitution Campaign
By Peter J. Smith
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 21, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-life Congressmen are demanding further answers from the Obama Administration regarding the U.S. government’s support for groups in Kenya that are campaigning for the adoption of a new constitution, which critics say would liberalize Kenya’s abortion laws.
In two weeks, Kenyans will vote on the constitution, which supporters say is intended to cut down the potential for corruption and give the African nation greater political stability. But two provisions have drawn the fire of conservative and Christian groups: an ill-defined health exception for the ban on abortion, and the institution of a parallel Islamic judicial system, the Khadis courts, which will be binding on all Muslims.
Pro-life advocates believe the abortion provisions are a Trojan Horse that will lead to the significant liberalization of abortion laws.
Investigations have revealed that the U.S. government has heavily invested itself in the referendum. Pro-life U.S. Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Frank Wolf (R-Va.) have called attention to the Obama administration’s commitment to a “yes” outcome.
“Under no circumstances should the U.S. government take sides by supporting, facilitating and funding projects designed to identify and motivate votes for either side. Yet that is precisely what the Obama Administration has done,” said Smith at a press conference this afternoon in the Capitol Visitor’s Center.
He added that besides meddling in the internal affairs of a sovereign country, the U.S. government’s advocacy of a “yes” campaign is also illegal, because “the proposed Constitution significantly alters existing abortion law in Kenya.” Under a U.S. statute called the Siljander amendment, no State Department or United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funds can be used “to lobby for or against abortion.”
So far, the USAID Inspector General has revealed that more than $23 million U.S. taxpayer funds have been dedicated to the civic education effort in Kenya. Many of the grantees have obtained the money specifically to work to obtain approval for the proposed constitution.
Smith said that a chart from USAID’s Inspector General “shows that 60 sub-recipients got funds for activities that include transportation, fuel, road shows, voter ID and ‘yes’ vote ‘buy in’ for professional elites.”
“Today, my colleagues and I note with alarm, shock and dismay that the evidence gathered by the United States Agency for International Development Inspector General Donald Gambatesa clearly shows that the Obama Administration has funded grantees with the express purpose of identifying and mobilizing tens of thousands of ‘yes’ votes,” he added.
“It is unconscionable that U.S. taxpayers are subsidizing a massive one-sided political campaign thinly disguised as ‘civic education’ in another sovereign nation. This is a very bad precedent. And it is illegal.”
A previous report from the pro-life lawmakers last week revealed that the U.S. government has funding agreements with various NGOs pledging to marshal Kenyans behind the proposed constitution. At least five NGOs agreed to register 20,000 voters each – 100,000 voters total – “for a YES vote at the next referendum.” One group received grant money to secure the support of Kenya’s elite.
Another report showed that pro-abortion groups dedicated to overturning Kenya’s pro-life laws have received USAID funding for constitution-related activities. Such groups include the Kenyan Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA-Kenya), the Committee of Experts on Constitutional Review in Kenya, the African Woman and Child Features Service, and Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI).
DAI, which has received $3 million as a primary grant recipient, advised USAID in 2000 to support local advocacy groups pushing for “efforts to eventually legalize abortion in Kenya.”
Smith said that U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Katya Thomas in Nairobi told the Associated Press last Friday that nine grantees “had been suspended or their work concluded, presumably because of issues we and the IG have raised.” All this occurred after Thomas had rejected accusations that the Embassy was engaged in an illegal campaign in Kenya.
The congressmen said that they would press USAID’s Inspector General on whether taxpayer money has been returned, and demand to know who in the U.S. government is responsible and liable for allegedly breaching the law.
Smith also said the nine grantees “may be only a tip of the iceberg.” He and his colleagues are pressing the IG to determine “whether other grant recipients are also illegally pushing the ‘yes’ campaign at U.S taxpayer expense.”
See previous coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:
Feds Hand $23 Million to Kenya Proxies Fighting for Pro-Abortion Constitution
U.S. State Department Funds Groups Lobbying “Yes” Vote on Pro-Abortion Kenya Constitution
HLI Asks Prayers for Kenya as it Faces Referendum on Pro-Abort Constitution
U.S. Embassy Denies Funding Campaign for Pro-Abort Kenya Constitution
Pro-Life Anti-Constitution Rally Bombed in Kenya