By David Ochami
The British government has stepped up its efforts to stem a diplomatic row with Kenya and has resolved to send a top official next week for talks with authorities.
Britain’s Minister in charge of Africa and Overseas
Territories, Henry Bellingham, will meet Kenyan officials in Nairobi to discuss a leaked memo disowned by London, which alleges a conspiracy to indict President Kibaki over the 2008 post-election violence.
On Monday, UK’s High Commissioner to Kenya William Tibber met Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula to resolve the emerging crisis.
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Wetangula told the Defence and Foreign Relations Committee of Parliament that the British minister would arrive on "20th or 21st of this month" to "discuss this matter".
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has already claimed the document tabled by Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo and Dujis MP Aden Duale on Thursday was a forgery. It alleged UK was putting pressure on the International Criminal Court ICC to detain post-election violence suspects William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta.
The alleged document also suggests President Kibaki could be indicted for international crimes after he leaves office. Duale’s document depicts Bellingham as a co-conspirator in the alleged British pressure on ICC.
On Monday, committee chairman Aden Keynan announced the team has commenced investigation on the origin of the letter now that "it is part of the record of parliament".
Saboti MP, Eugene Wamalwa, said Bellingham should also meet the committee and questioned the recent visit by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague.
Wetangula said the FCO wrote to him on Friday disowning the document. On Friday. Wetangula posted the British disclaimer on his Facebook and Twitter accounts.
It is believed the British minister will meet President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga and also the Defence and Foreign Relations Committee. The dossier alleged that the conspiracy by the UK was to have the suspects detained, install Raila as next president and prepare conditions for Kibaki’s indictment.
On Saturday, Raila denounced Ruto and Uhuru accusing them of incitement and arguing that they ought to be jailed for the egregious crimes.
On Tuesday, the matter will be discussed in Parliament whereby Raila’s allies will question the admissibility of the memos in light of the UK’s disclaimer but the suspects’ cronies who thwarted an attempt to adjourn the House till April 10, have indicated they will press ahead with a motion to discuss Kenya’s relations with the UK.
Meanwhile, Wetangula has described Eritrea as "a spoiler" against regional peace efforts in Somalia and said the Red Sea State is "playing games"and supporting Islamist rebels there.
Wetangula also said that Kenya wants the 630,000 Somali refugees in camps in Northern Kenya relocated to areas "liberated" by the Kenya Defence Forces since the Kenyan military entered Somalia last October.
He said by invading Southern Somalia to fight the Al-Shabaab, Kenyan forces have liberated huge swathes of territories and destroyed "the hatcheries of piracy" on land in the anarchic Horn of Africa nation.
He suggested that Kenyan could pursue a more robust policy to force the refugees to be relocated to Somalia where the international community can feed and take care of them.
"We have liberated many areas of Southern Somalia. 600,000 refugees can voluntarily be repatriated to liberated areas."
Although Wetangula said any repatriation should be voluntary, he said Kenyan has now set "timelines" within which the refugee phenomenon in Northern Kenya should be solved. He named countries that have forcibly relocated refugees from its territory.
"Tanzania removed Burundi refugees," Wetangula adding that Turkey, Iraqi refugees on its soil and Rwanda forced Rwandese back to Rwanda from the former Zaire.
"We are not thinking in a direction that is unchartered" referring to the said nations’ experience against a reluctant international community.
Wetangula criticised the international community for prolonging the refugee crisis in Kenya by refusing to consider the repatriation of refugees to their country.