× Digital News Videos Health & Science Opinion Education Columnists Lifestyle Cartoons Moi Cabinets Kibaki Cabinets Arts & Culture Podcasts E-Paper Tributes Lifestyle & Entertainment Nairobian Entertainment Eve Woman TV Stations KTN Home KTN News BTV KTN Farmers TV Radio Stations Radio Maisha Spice FM Vybez Radio Enterprise VAS E-Learning Digger Classified Jobs Games Crosswords Sudoku The Standard Group Corporate Contact Us Rate Card Vacancies DCX O.M Portal Corporate Email RMS

Privacy hedge on visa bans hides political sins

By | March 18th 2009

Hillary Clinton’s confirmation remarks as US Secretary of State may have dwelt too briefly on Africa, but her office’s recent use of Presidential Proclamation 7750 shows high-level interest in supporting Kenya’s war on corruption.

We wish it were clear, however, just what the US has done and why. Proclamation 7750 (better known as the Kleptocracy Initiative travel ban), issued by George W Bush in January 2004, has been used to prohibit corrupt officials from entering the US. At least 13 Kenyan public officials and their families are believed to have had travel restrictions placed on them under this directive. However, who they are and what they did remains a matter of conjecture.

With the addition of the latest name to the ‘no-fly’ list, the US embassy has once again invoked privacy protection regulations to explain its refusal to name the individual. But a look at the Federal Register (similar to the Kenya Gazette) shows other proclamations list visa restrictions for identifiable groups. It is useful to know, for instance, State officials from Sudan and Zimbabwe can’t travel. But what use are anonymous corruption bans apart from exerting private pressure?

The 7750 bans are concerned with public corruption that has "serious adverse effects on American national interests". As this includes the activities of US businesses, there is a danger of bans being a political tool to advance commercial interests. To avoid such suspicion, the US should at least provide details of the acts of corruption that it targets.

Share this story
Restoring Nairobi’s iconic libraries
Book Bunk is turning public libraries into what they call ‘Palaces for The People' while introducing technology in every aspect.