Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Kenyan Obamanation

Not content with intimidating those alleging that Kenya is arming Southern Sudan, the government has now inserted itself into the US presidential campaign by arresting and deporting the author of a book critical of Barack Obama. According to Xinhua,
Jerome Corsi, who authored "The Obama Nation; Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality", was arrested at a Nairobi hotel on Monday minutes before launching the book meant to advance a negative campaign against the U.S. Democratic presidential candidate on his ancestral soil. The book questions the Illinois senator's character, his links to Prime Minister Raila Odinga and attacks Obama's fitness for the White House.

Corsi was grabbed as he entered the venue of the press conference and his books and copies of the media statement grabbedand later whisked to the Immigration department for questioning. In a statement he issued inviting journalists at the book launch, left no secret of the intention to hurl dirt at Obama and undermine his campaign from his ancestral home.

"Dr. Corsi will also expose details of deep secret ties between US Democratic presidential candidate Sen Barack Obama and a section of Kenya government leaders, their connection to certain sectoral groups in Kenya and subsequent plot to be executed in Kenya should Sen Obama win the American presidency," the statement reads in part.
Since when did it become a crime in Kenya to criticise Obama? And isn't this the height of irresponsibility? Not only does this harm Obama and open him up to accusations of intolerance, it also creates enemies in the one place we do not need them. What should happen if John McCain should  ascend to the US presidency? Won't our government have compromised our future relations with the most powerful nation on earth?

In fact, such action seems unnecessary considering, according Wikipedia
Corsi's book has been criticized for inaccuracies by news organizations such as The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, U.S. News and World Report, the Associated Press, Time magazine, Newsweek, The Daily Telegraph, Editor & Publisher, The Guardian, CNN, The Independent,, and The Boston Globe. According to The New York Times, "several of the book's accusations, in fact, are unsubstantiated, misleading or inaccurate." Peter Wehner of Commentary wrote: "conservatives should not hitch their hopes to" Corsi's book because "it seems to be riddled with factual errors — some relatively minor (like asserting that Obama does not mention the birth of his half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, in Dreams from My Father; Obama does mention her), and some significant (suggesting that Obama favors withdrawing troops from Afghanistan; he wants to do the opposite)."
Not that its accuracy should be an issue for the government absent a libel complaint from concerned individuals (yes, libel is still criminalised in our statutes.)

On the other hand, perhaps this has nothing to do with Obama and everything to do with politicians covering their asses. What exactly was Corsi going to reveal during his press conference? According to Classic FM, the book "paints some local politicians in a bad light."

This is just more evidence that the Kibaki-Raila administration is not interested in promoting free speech.

MSNBC, quoting a "senior immigration officer", Carlos Maluta, is reporting that Jerome Corsi "was picked up by police Tuesday for not having a work permit."  He is due to be deported tonight. 
He was briefly detained at immigration headquarters before being brought to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for deportation, said Joseph Mumira, head of criminal investigations at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
Hmmmm?! Does one need a work permit to adress the press? Does one need a work permit to promote the sales of a book (which sales generate tax revenue for the government)? Does Nameless need a work permit to go to the US and hold concerts to promote sales of his CDs?


Msanii_XL said...

Yeah musicians do need appropriate visas and work permits to "work"..or do the music thing.

Anonymous said...

I cosign Msanii, Nameless doesnt stroll in and out of the States wily nily.
I do think any foreigner that is in the country on an income generating mission needs to have the appropriate paperwork.
If he didnt then its only right that he was detained and deported.

Gathara said...

Would you happen to have a link to the relevant statute? I have been to a few international festivals (including in the US) where participants were openly promoting their books and I do not think any of them were required to get work permits. By that rationale, I assume our athletes have to get a multitude of work permits to participate in the various IAAF events. Are you saying Jeptoo and co. needed a work permit to run in the Olympics? Honestly, that sounds ludicrous (though that's not to say it is untrue!)

Anonymous said...

Yes even Olympians apply for a special visa when coming to the US that allows them conduct any short term business.It is like a temporary work permit. Nameless, Longombas, Redyklass, et al apply for that particular visa either the O-visa or the P-Visa, it gives you temporary worker status.

For Kenya You can not apply for a visitors visa and engage in business.You have to get a temporary work permit even the international preachers who come to Uhuru park have to get a work permit. Otherwise,the thing is to keep quite, but if you go around publicizing your event chances are immigrations will check into it you will get deported or a shake down. Even those in the NGO business who do not do this have been deported when found out.But like in the US, some has to call you in.

faq on visas


Gathara said...

Thanks, but I I still do not have a link to the relevant statute. Under what law do we issue work permits? Under what circumstances does one need it?
However 2 things did catch my attention on the Kenya high Commission site.

Q. If a child is born in Kenya of parents who are not Kenya Citizens, does he/she qualify to be a citizen of Kenya?

A. No

Q. How long do passports take to be issued?

A. Six weeks or more.
Six weeks or more??!! What sort of answer is that?!!!

Anonymous said...

Any Non citizen who is going to engage in income generating activities in Kenya requires a work permit or an endorsement that allows them to work there.There are several class. Corsi applied for a tourist Visa

Anonymous said...

Hi garth,
kenya has made an unnecessary blunder in deporting that author. while the pretext is probably right, the whole move seemed to be downright informed by quintessential intolerance and sheer stupidity. i cannot see any national interests worth pursuing through such means. we clearly STILL need "true democrats" in the current coalition gava.

Gathara said...

KBC is reporting that Jerome Corsi's "deportation squarely lay on his suspect intentions and mission in the country, the launch of an anti-Obama book." This is in sharp contrast to the initial government assertion that he did not have a work permit. In fact the KBC article quotes Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula as saying the Corsi According to Foreign affairs minister Moses Wetangula, Corsi "displayed inconsistent conduct with the expected norms of good behaviour in the country."
So now the government is now the custodian of good behaviour, eh? And it is obviously bad form to criticise Barack Obama, isn't it?