The Swiss deny minister visa to
travel to Geneva
Published on March 2, 2008
By Sunday Standard Team
A Cabinet minister has been denied a visa to travel to Geneva,
Switzerland, on official assignment.
The minister, who is a member of PNU and was to leave on Saturday
night with a ministerial team, cancelled the trip on Thursday
after being informed of the visa ban.
Sources said the ministerís visa application alongside that of a
Permanent Secretary and a legal officer in the same ministry were
submitted to the Swiss Embassy in Nairobi on Tuesday. While the
other two were approved, the minister got a letter from the
embassy, saying the visa had been denied.
The letter did not explain if the ministerís visa ban extends to
other European Union countries, but the trend with such bans is
that other countries and the US take the cue.
Once the letter was delivered, the minister instructed accounting
officials in the ministry to cancel a Sh123,000 imprest, which had
been filled out for travel expenses.
The minister and the team were to attend a three-day workshop,
which starts in Geneva tomorrow.
The PS and the other officer left last night aboard a Kenya
Airways flight, via Amsterdam.
A Kenya Airways reservations officer said the other two names were
on the confirmed passenger list but the ministerís was not.
Phones to the Swiss embassy in Nairobi were not answered, being a
weekend. But the country issued a warning two weeks ago that it
would take measures against leaders seen as subverting the peace
A statement from the Swiss Embassy consular, Mr Arthur Mattli, on
February 19, said his country would take measures against leaders
seen to have held back the talks. Also included were those seen to
subvert democracy or promote violence.
"Switzerland considers the mediation the only way to resolve the
crisis into which Kenya has plunged, following the announcement of
the contentious results of the presidential elections held on
December 27," said Mattliís statement.
The statement, similar to others issued by the US and some EU
countries, were seen to target several top politicians, including
Government spokesman, Dr Alfred Mutua, on Saturday denied any
knowledge of a ban on a minister to travel to Geneva.
"There is no such thing. I donít know where you got that from,"
said Mutua by telephone.
The statements and the ban threats were made before the Thursday
breakthrough, in which President Kibaki and ODM leader, Mr Raila
Odinga, signed a power-sharing deal.
Only Mukurwe-ini MP, Mr Kabando wa Kabando, has openly admitted
having been asked by the US Embassy to explain in an essay how he
has promoted peace in the country.