U.S. calls on Kenya to resolve political crisis

10:27, February 18, 2010      

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The United States on Wednesday called on the Kenyan coalition government to resolve a deepening political crisis surrounding a corruption scandal, saying now it's not the time for "political posturing."

"We are concerned about the serious differences regarding the handling of recent corruption scandals that have emerged between the coalition government partners in Kenya," U.S. State Department Spokesman Philip Crowley said in a statement, urging leaders of the coalition to "work swiftly to resolve these differences," which threaten to derail efforts to implement critical reforms and move Kenya forward.

Crowley said now is not the time for "political posturing or precipitous actions by either side," noting the coalition leaders share responsibility to implement reform.

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Sunday suspended two ministers to allow for investigations after they had been mentioned adversely in the subsidized maize scheme and free primary education program.

But President Mwai Kibaki later said Odinga did not have powers to remove ministers from office and therefore, "constitutionally the two ministers remain in office." The two ministers on the contested suspension reported to their respective offices on Monday and vowed to defy the directive issued by Odinga.

The maize scam was reported in 2008 when the government initiated the subsidized maize scheme to mitigate hunger that had ravaged over 10 million Kenyans. Both Britain and the United States have suspended their funding to the program after an audit revealed over a million U.S. dollars had been misappropriated.

Source: Xinhua
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