U.S. State Department Funds Groups Lobbying “Yes” Vote on Pro-Abortion Kenya Constitution
By Peter J. Smith
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 14, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – New evidence belies claims that the U.S. government is maintaining strict neutrality on Kenya’s proposed pro-abortion constitution, and indicates instead that the government is waging a proxy campaign in Kenya to get voters to approve the document.
The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi has been vigorously denying complicity in getting out the “yes” vote, going as far as accusing its critics of “lying” and making “categorically false” claims. However, several U.S. Congressmen have uncovered information definitively revealing that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are actively campaigning for a “yes” vote with the full knowledge and consent of the Obama Administration.
“By funding NGOs charged with obtaining ‘yes’ votes, the Administration has crossed the line,” said Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health. “Directly supporting efforts to register ‘yes’ voters and ‘get out the yes vote’ means the U.S. government is running a political campaign in Kenya.”
A chart from the Office of the Inspector General of USAID obtained by Smith and his colleagues Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), reveals the U.S. government has funding agreements with various NGOs pledging to use the funds to marshal Kenyans from all walks of life behind the proposed constitution.
Two organizations, the Provincial Commissioner North Eastern Province and the Kenya Muslim Youth Alliance, are receiving together over $150,000 to “contribute to an ‘overrepresentation’ of the YES voters”– quoted from the USAID summary agreement.
Securing the cooperation of the Kenya elite is also a high priority. The Provincial Peace Forum secured over $190,000 in grants for two of its provinces for the specific purpose of swaying the elites and getting them “to use their influence to ensure people register and vote YES at the referendum.”
An additional five other NGOs also agreed to register 20,000 voters each – 100,000 voters total –”for a YES vote at the next referendum.”
The referendum is scheduled for August 4.
Kenya’s Christian churches have banded together to fight the proposed constitution on pro-life grounds, as well as over concerns that the proposed Islamic courts included in the document would impact religious freedom in Kenya.
While the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) provoked a furor in Kenya when it announced in May that it would provide tens of thousands of U.S. dollars to fund the “no” campaign led by Kenya’s coalition of Christian churches, the amount U.S. Christian groups have provided is chump change when compared to the funds the U.S. has dumped into Kenya’s “yes” campaign.
Government funding of the campaign for Kenya’s constitution is problematic, since the Siljander Amendment prohibits the federal government from using foreign aid funds “to lobby for or against abortion.” Article 26 of the proposed constitution would permit abortion if the “health of the mother is in danger,””or if permitted by any other written law.”
Congressman Smith has said that, as of May, as much as $10 million in federal funds may have been spent in support of the new constitution.
Smith said the Obama Administration should immediately withdraw the U.S. taxpayer dollars that are being used “to buy votes and influence the outcome on the referendum.”
“The draft constitution, with its controversial provisions expanding access to abortion, is a matter for the Kenyan people to consider and decide,” he said.
The information from USAID’s Inspector General likely only scratches the surface. A spokesman for Rep. Smith told LifeSiteNews.com that the investigation is ongoing and more information will be made available as they receive it from responsible federal agencies.
The following information about groups that are being funded by the U.S. State Department was included on the chart provided by the IG’s office:
– Provincial Peace Forum, Eastern Providence. $97,633.33 to “gain buy-in for the new proposed constitution by educating the professional elites in Isiolo South Constituency about its benefits and getting their commitment to use their influence to ensure people register and vote YES at the referendum.”
– Central Organization of Trade Unions, Kenya (COTU). $91,106.66 to “marshal a coalition of pro-Constitution individuals, institutions, and organizations to drum up political support for the Proposed Constitution by organizing a public rally at the historic Kamukunji Grounds, Nairobi.”
– Provincial Commissioner North Eastern Province. $99,220 for “one of a series of activities that aim to contribute to an ‘overrepresentation’ of the YES voters at the next referendum. Specifically, OTI will provide support to the office of the Provincial Commissioner (PC) in the form of transportation and fuel.”
– Kenya Muslim Youth Alliance (KMYA). $56,953.33 for “one of a series of activities that aim to contribute to an ‘overrepresentation’ of the YES voters at the next referendum. Specifically, OTI will provide support to Kenya Muslims Youth Alliance (KMYA) in the form of transportation and communications.”
– Provincial Peace Forum, Rift Valley Province. $94,193.33 to “build on previous activities in the North Rift as an entry point for a YES campaign on the constitution. Specifically, this activity will serve to gain buy-in for the new proposed constitution by getting the professional elites’ commitment.”
– Inter community Peace Choir Organization. $38,600 for “one of a series of activities aimed at facilitating registration of approximately 20,000 in cosmopolitan areas occupied by IDPs for a YES vote at the next referendum.”
– North Rift Theatre Ambassadors. $37,773.33 for “one of a series of activities aimed at facilitating registration of approximately 20,000 in cosmopolitan areas of Uasin Gishu, namely Turbo, Maili Maili Nne-Chepkanaga, and Huruma divisions for a YES vote at the next referendum.”
– Amani Peoples Theatre. $41,400 for “one of a series of activities aimed at facilitating registration of approximately 20,000 in Kachiliba and Psigor Constituencies-North Pokot for a YES vote at the next referendum.”
– Christian Community Services. $37,466.67 for “one of a series of activities aimed at facilitating registration of approximately 20,000 in the three Constituencies of Turkana South, Central, and North for a YES vote at the next referendum.”
– Pokot Outreach Ministries. $38,133.34 for “one of a series of activities aimed at facilitating registration of approximately 20,000 additional voters in the entire Constituency of Kapenguria for a YES vote at the next referendum.”
See related coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:
U.S. Embassy Denies Funding Campaign for Pro-Abort Kenya Constitution
Pro-Life Anti-Constitution Rally Bombed in Kenya
Biden Promises Kenya ‘Money to Flow’ if Pro-Abort Constitution Passes
Unveiling of Kenya Constitution with Abortion Provisions Set for Thursday