Tusks and Torture

Article excerpt

Tucked away in the foreign aid bill Congress passed last year is a small provision now provoking consternation among human rights activists. It reads simply that "not less than $15,000,000 shall be made available to countries in Africa for programs which support conservation and biological diversity." That sounds fine. But the fear is that these few lines were designed, in part, for the benefit of the abusive regime of Daniel arap Moi of Kenya.

In the same bill, Congress prohibited dispatching any economic or military assistance to Kenya unless President Bush certifies that the Moi government is moving to release political prisoners, cease physical abuse in its jails, re-establish the independence of the judiciary and restore freedom of expression. Not even the savviest wordsmiths of the White House could find a way to craft such an assurance. The legislation was intended to codify a freeze on already-approved military aid, which Bush had imposed last summer under pressure from Congress. In February, however, the Bush Administration unfroze $5 million of those funds after Kenya provided sanctuary to a group of Libyan exiles who, trained by the C. …